The whys and hows of new fees and tuition increases

The Board of Education and the administration of Umpqua Community College is proposing an increase in tuition and an additional fee for labs, lectures/lab, practicums and clinical courses starting in Fall term 2018. Tuition will be increased an additional $5 per credit up from their current rate. A proposed flat fee of $100 will be applied to certain courses labs, lectures/lab, practicums and clinicals, regardless of the number of credits, affecting a large number of courses.

In a statement received in an email from Dr. Deborah Thatcher “In the face of inadequate funding from the State, the addition of a lab fee will allow us to continue to offer expensive programs in the science, mathematics, technology, and engineering programs. The proposal to the Board of Education states that labs will be assessed a $100 flat fee to account for high instructional costs required to deliver labs.”

The proposal brought before the Board of Education on April 11, 2018 states: “An increase of $100 is proposed for lab, lecture/labs, practicum, and clinical classes. Over the years, Umpqua Community College has worked hard to become as lean and efficient as possible while avoiding hikes in tuition rates. Under our current tuition model, lecture, lecture/lab combined format, lab, practicum, and clinical courses are all charged the same rate. However, these courses are much more expensive to teach.”

As a result, the proposal includes additional fees on top of the flat $100 fee for classes in the EMS, Welding, Nursing and Engineering/CIS programs. The fee is considered by the Board and Administration as “more student friendly than what is charged by many other colleges that have differential tuition,” according to Thatcher.

The funds collected from the new fees will go into the General Fund and Administrative Restrictive fund, to cover the cost of instruction and other expenses. An exact breakdown of what those expenses are is unknown at the time of print. When students at an ASUCC meeting on April 10, 2018 questioned Dr. Kacy Crabtree, provost, Natalya Brown, interim CFO and Steve Loosley, Board of Education Chair if the funds would go to buy new equipment and lab supplies, the answer was inconclusive. Clarifying questions asked about what the General Fund is used for are unanswered at the time of print. There is still confusion among the student body as to how the increase and new fees will benefit the students and their education.

According to the 2018-19 proposed budget the general fund resources are budgeted at $25.4 million for next year, based upon the Community College Strategic Fund allocation of $11.5 million to the college. “Budgeted tuition and fees revenues are $6.9 million, reflecting a tuition inflationary rate increase of $4 per credit tied to Higher Education Price Index, a slight enrollment increase tied to introduction of new athletic programs and proposed fee increases,” the proposed budget says.
The college also anticipates receiving $3.5 million in current taxes, which is an 2.3% increase over last years taxes.

The Board did approve an increase in Non-Student fees, which will include a library card fee and tutoring fee and a $97 decrease for out-of-state student tuition, which will bring tuition for out of sate students down from $209 to $112. The Board tabled a decision on the new fee and increase in tuition to be considered during the next board meeting on May 9, 2018.
Alternative proposals, if there are any, will be included in the board packet for the meeting and will be available to the public on May 2, 2018. “It is unknown how the Board will proceed,” said Robynne Wilgus, Executive Assistant to the President and Board in an email interview.

There may be opportunity for students to voice their concerns before that time, “however, no date has been set yet,” Wilgus said.