JJC Board Approves Tuition Increase

The Board of Trustees approved a measure April 10 to raise the college’s tuition rate by nearly 4 percent, which equals an additional $4 per credit hour.
 
The new rate will go into effect for the fall 2012 semester.

Citing the need to ensure a balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the college administration said the increase will help the college continue to meet the needs of the student base, maintain the operations of new facilities built through the Master Plan, and manage unstable state funding.

 
JJC Student Government President Tim Kugelman spoke at the March board meeting and shared that the student group was in support of the increase and willing to share the financial responsibility. Kugelman added that after a survey of multiple peer colleges, most were also raising tuition and that JJC’s increase was reasonable.
 
“This would keep JJC in line with other institutions as far as increases, but it would keep us on the lower end of the tuition base throughout community colleges around the state,” Kugelman said.
 
JJC’s enrollment growth measures nearly 35 percent in the last 10 years. To meet this growth and respond to labor market demand, the college’s 2008-2013 Master Plan initiated the construction of multiple buildings which have come to encompass the biggest changes on the Main Campus in its 40-year history.
 
One of these projects, the 124,000-square-foot Health Professions Building, is slated to open in January 2013 and will expand JJC’s nursing and allied health programs and allow new programs in occupational and physical therapy, and in massage therapy.
 
But with new buildings and programs to meet demand comes the additional cost of operating them, which includes more custodial, maintenance, and security positions, as well as more faculty and lab technicians. An increase in utility costs and supplies is also expected.
 
In addition, the funding JJC receives from the state has steadily decreased since 1999, from 18.4 percent of the college’s operating budget to 9.7 percent of its 2012 operating budget.

Conceptually, the college’s budget should be funded in three equal parts by student tuition, the college district taxpayers, and the state. As state funding has continued to decline in the last two decades, the numbers have become disproportionate. Currently, 51 percent of the college’s revenue comes from taxpayers, 36 percent from tuition, and 9.7 percent from the state.

Acknowledging that the financial burden should not only be placed on students and taxpayers, the college has already cut over $1 million from its fiscal year 2013 budget, reducing travel and professional development opportunities, deferring computer replacements, reducing the marketing budget, and offering the student handbook online instead of printing it. The college’s Cost Savings Committee has saved an additional $300,000 for the FY13 budget as well.

Though the tuition increase amounts to approximately $120 more per semester for full-time students, JJC offers various types of financial aid to students.

The college awards almost $21 million annually in federal, state, and institutional financial aid. Nearly 65 percent of that amount is made in the form of non-repayable grants and tuition waivers. In 2011, the JJC Foundation provided $743,000 in scholarships.

 
“No one likes a tuition increase, but I’m fully behind the idea of shared financial responsibility to maintain our quality education and continue to meet the needs of our district,” JJC President Dr. Deb Daniels said.
 
“I also appreciate the hard work of the staff to work together to find ways to control our budget. We will need to continue to work together to further stabilize our budget as we go forward.”

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