Tuition costs increased by $4 credit hour

Tuition increase will raise $800,000 in new money for college

The Wyoming Community College Commission has made its decision to increase tuition by $4 a credit hour beginning fall 2012.

According to Dr. Jim Rose, executive director of WCCC, Laramie County Community College's tuition prices are far below other community colleges in the state.

Staying in step with state standards

The college commission doesn't want to be out of sync with the rest of the state and after analyzing other colleges' tuition, they decided tuition should be increased, Rose said. "The increase is modest and predictable but also keeps us moving," he explained.

Rose said the commission doesn't want a negative effect to come from the increase, which is why it chose to increase moderately by $4 rather than a larger hike or raising the tuition cap along with the normal tuition.

The tuition cap refers to the cost of credits above the 12 hours for full-time students. What is now and has been in effect is students don't pay extra for any hours above 12. If a student takes 15 credits, he will still pay only the full-time tuition price.

If students wish to take more than the 12 hours required to be full time, they would be less apt to take extra courses if they were required to pay for them, Rose said.

Where does that money go

A report shows the $4 a credit hour increase will add up to about $800,000 in new money for LCCC.

Where that money goes is solely in the hands of the board of trustees, Rose said. There has been no talk so far as to where the new money will go.

Rose said he believed the tuition hike could have unintended consequences like a possible decrease in attendance.

Students with limited finances might take fewer classes because of the cost, which, in turn, would elongate the time for a student to earn her degree. This would go against the goal of the commission, which is to educate students and move them along to careers and success in a timely manner.

Current financial aid not enough according to WCCC director

Rose said he believed students need more financial assistance. Wyoming and South Dakota are the only two states that do not offer state need based student aid.

The state of Wyoming does offer student aid through the Hathaway Scholarship and Success Curriculum, but this is merit-based not need-based and is geared only toward recent high school graduates, Rose said. So it is up to the student to make up the difference between their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and their cost of attendance.

He said: "Students need resources." They need to be able to concentrate on school rather than trying to balance school with one or two jobs to try to pay for the education they are getting, he said.

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