The Joliet Junior College Board of Trustees voted to raise tuition $19 per credit hour at their March 14 meeting. The increase will take effect in the fall 2017 semester, bringing the total for tuition and fees from $125 per credit hour to $144.
In addition, differential tuition rates will be applied to new students entering 100 level courses in four career and technical programs in fall 2017: automotive technology, electrical/electronic automated systems, culinary arts and welding. In the following academic year, the differential tuition rate would apply to 100 and 200 level courses in those programs.
The tuition increase is the direct result of the lack of a state budget for the past two years, which has resulted in the loss of millions of dollars of state funding JJC would normally receive.
In fact, the funding JJC receives from the state has steadily declined since 1999. Currently, state funding accounts for five percent of JJC’s operating fund revenue, with tuition accounting for 34 percent and property taxes providing 58 percent. In FY17, the college had budgeted to receive 10 percent of its operating funds from the state.
At the current tuition rate, JJC ranks 27 out of 38 in terms of per credit hour cost in a ranking of Illinois community colleges (see chart below).
Prior to the board’s vote, President Mitchell worked extensively to communicate with students and gather feedback, holding a town hall meeting in February with students in addition to meeting with student government members.
“This is a very difficult time for JJC, as it is for all Illinois colleges and universities that rely on funding from the state,” said President Judy Mitchell. “Sixteen of the 19 dollars per credit hour are a direct result of the ongoing state budget impasse. The college has already taken considerable measures to cut costs over the past several years, which have totaled over $3.5 million. We acknowledge the challenge a tuition increase presents to our students, and are committed to ensuring that students are educated about the financial aid and scholarship resources available to them.”
At the board meeting, Student Trustee Kathleen Duong stated that she had spoken with other students and worked with student government to ensure they had the right information about the potential increase and a chance to express their opinions.
“We have great faculty and resources here at JJC, and while we don’t like this situation, we do support the increase,” she said.
The last time JJC raised tuition was $10 per credit hour for the fall 2016 semester.
Additionally, between fiscal years 2010-2016, the college reduced operating costs by more than $3 million, with ongoing savings of $1.3 million per year.
Last year, JJC students were awarded $848,000 in scholarships from the JJC Foundation, and in fiscal year 2015-2016, the financial aid office disbursed nearly $18 million in grants and loans to students. Students can apply for scholarships for the fall 2017 semester until May 1 of this year at www.jjc.edu/info/scholarships.
Illinois Community College Tuition and Fees for 2016/2017: