GREENVILLE — Students attending Montcalm Community College (MCC) will notice a hike in their tuition as they enroll for their next semester of classes.
During Tuesday evening’s MCC Board of Trustees meeting at the MCC’s Stanley & Blanche Ash Technology and Learning Center on the college’s Greenville campus, board members voted unanimously to increase the 2014-2015 tuition by approximately 5 percent.
MCC President Bob Ferrintino said the recommendation to increase the college’s tuition came after “analysis and research in trying to determine where we are, not only to other colleges, but also in looking at our own financial situation.”
According to Vice President for Administrative Services James D. Lantz, the change in rates for students will be as follows per credit hour: In-district students, $91 to $96; out-of-district students, $171 to $180; out-of-state students, $254 to $267; and correspondence students, $232 to $244.
“One of the things this board has consistently tried to do is keep the tuition rates that MCC charges in line with what the other Michigan community colleges charge,” Lantz said. “However, a recent survey indicates that our current tuition rates and that our total charges per contact hour (tuition and fees) are below the state average.”
Lantz said MCC’s tuition rates average about 1.5 percent below the other 27 community colleges throughout the state, and average about 8 percent below the rates of other smaller, rural community colleges.
“We’re recommending, in order to keep us in the middle of the pack and sustain access to higher educational opportunities for our community, a 5 percent increase,” he said. “I haven’t seen any community colleges in Michigan that aren’t raising their rates.”
Trustee Patricia Hinrichs said there is no joy in voting to raise the tuition rates at the college.
“It just makes me sad that we have to do this,” she said. “I really feel for our students, but I understand why it’s necessary.”
Vice Chairman Robert Marston said the decision to increase tuition, which has occurred for several years in a row, is an unfortunate but necessary action.
In 2012, the board voted to increase rates by 5 to 7 percent. In 2013, the board voted to increase rates by 4 percent.
“I always struggle with this, but everything else increases,” Marston said. “We have to keep pace, because falling behind is not an answer. If we fall too far behind, we will struggle in trying to catch up.”
In other business, the board unanimously approved the college’s 2014-2015 revenue estimates.
According to Lantz, based on the college’s current projects of the costs to continue its current educational programs, as well as develop and deliver new programming necessary to provide job training for the community, and maintain facilities and equipment, the maximum amount of revenues that can be generated by the approved millage will be needed.
That amount, provided through state appropriations, according to data provided by Lantz, is estimated at $3,226,700.
The remaining revenue will be generated from the college’s 2.72 mils from property taxes.
The board also voted unanimously to continue legal services provided by three appointed firms.
Thrun Law Firm is appointed MCC’s counsel for community college law and legislative issues; Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt and Howlett is appointed MCC’s counsel for labor law; and Mullendore and Eggleston is appointed MCC’s general counsel for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.