Starting this summer, a 12 credit student might expect to pay an additional $36 in tuition and fees per term. An increase of $3 per credit was a unanimous, though tentative, decision reached by the UCC Board of Trustees on Wednesday, April 12. A second reading of the tuition increase will be required at the April 26 board meeting before it can be voted in or voted out.
The first April board meeting focused primarily on what can be done to rectify a $1.4 million shortfall and included discussion on the proposed increase in tuition and fees for students.
Along with Oregon’s forecast $1.7 billion shortfall, UCC’s own concerns revolve around a shortfall of $1.4 million due to factors such as lower enrollment, salary increases, increased retirement costs and lower fund balances.
UCC can no longer afford to operate on the budget reserves. An increase of the reserve from eight to nine percent is expected on the condition that state allocations of money exceed what has been promised to community colleges.
Oregon’s community colleges are asking for $634 million in state support but are expecting only $550 million for the 2017-2019 biennium as was promised in 2015. This would be a 22 percent increase or roughly $29 million over current funding.
In accordance with the federal Consumer Price Index, Oregon’s seven universities, and 17 community colleges, are requesting additional funding from Governor Kate Brown and state lawmakers in July for their next biennium. In 2015, Brown endorsed the initiative for the 2015-2017 biennium and then in December 2016, released budget recommendations. The budget for the 2017-2019 biennium is now being planned.
The state will make final decisions in late June. It has asked that colleges adopt and adapt their budgets to the original agreement by June 30. Should the state decrease this proposal, UCC will have to make further adjustments; however, if funding exceeds the stated goal, UCC will be focused on increasing its reserves until the state follows through with funding disbursements.
In the meantime, maintaining operation will mean that UCC not only makes tuition adjustments, but also reduces or cuts funding to certain programs.
Faculty is also seeing a reduction in positions, as some full-time positions will become part-time, and others will take on additional responsibilities.
The only proposal accepted and passed so far by the Board at their April 12 session was ASUCC’s request of a $1 per credit increase in activities fees, half of which would fund the many services and resources that the student government provides, the other 50 cents per student being allotted to the salary and benefits of the Director of Student Life/Campus Empowerment (SAFEE).
The Board of Trustees reconvenes in an external budget committee meeting to make further decisions regarding the tuition increase on April 26.
This meeting will be open to the public in the Lang Teaching, Learning & Event Center at 6 p.m.