WSCC to consider raising tuition
BRETHREN — The West Shore Community College (WSCC) Board of Trustees will consider increasing tuition rates by 2.9 percent and changing fees during its off-campus meeting at 5 p.m. Monday at Kaleva Norman Dickson School District in Brethren.
If approved, the WSCC rate for in-district students would increase from $103 to $106 per credit hour; the out-of-district tuition rate would rise from $165 to $170 per credit hour; and the out-of-state tuition rate would increase from $230 to $240 per credit hour, according to a memo from WSCC President Scott Ward to the trustees.
During the past 10 years, WSCC has increased its tuition rate by an average of $3.10 annually or 3.66 percent, according to Ward. The tuition rate increase is needed because of rising operational costs, Ward stated.
“Additionally, with a projected enrollment decline, tuition revenue, even with an increase in tuition, will stay flat or may even decrease,” Ward stated in the memo.
Ward added that, comparatively, WSCC’s current in-district tuition rate is the lowest among Michigan’s smallest 10 community colleges, and it is expected to remain the lowest tuition rate, since the other colleges will likely raise their rates as well.
The average tuition rate among the 10 colleges was $122 for 2018-2019, and the highest tuition was Glen Oaks Community College’s $149 rate per credit hour, according to Ward.
“Even with an increase next year, we will still be well below the current average for the small (10),” Ward stated.
The board will also consider a proposal to simplify the college’s fee structure, which currently charges four separate fees for registration, technology, student activities and student services.
Instead of charging these four separate fees, WSCC would charge a single fee at a flat rate of $20 per contact hour.
“Currently, the technology fee, student services fee and student activities fee are all capped at 14 contact hours and/or have varying levels of costs depending on the number of contact hours the student is registered for,” Ward stated. “This fee structure can be confusing to students and it also leads to unclear metrics when reporting tuition and fees information to the State of Michigan.”
If implemented, the college’s student activities account would continue to be funded at a rate of $3 per contact hour, but these funds would be raised as part of the flat rate, Ward explained in his recommendation to the board.
Currently, the rates per credit hour for the registration fee is $7; for the technology fee is $7; for the student activities fee is $3; and for the student services fee it is $20 for students with one to five contact hours, $43 for six to 11 contact hours and $46 for 12 or more contact hours, according to Ward.
If approved, WSCC’s proposed rate changes for fees and tuition would become effective on July 1.
The board will also vote on approving a policy change that would give veterans, their spouses and children the in-district rate for tuition and fees regardless of their formal state of residence.
The policy revision would bring the college into compliance with federal law, which requires veterans to get the in-state tuition price, but WSCC would go one step further by offering veterans and their families the college’s lowest rate, according to Ward.
“This recommendation not only further honors our service members, but is also administratively efficient,” Ward stated.
The board will consider scheduling a special meeting for 4 p.m. June 4 to certify the college’s final property tax levy figures.
The trustees will review the list of 128 graduates for the winter semester.
The board’s off-campus meeting will be at 5 p.m. Monday in the Media Center of the Kaleva Norman Dickson School District, 4400 N. High Bridge Road, in Brethren.