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Administration proposes tuition increase after governor’s budget released

This story is part of a partnership between the Courier and Salem Reporter and was originally published on their website.

On Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, the Chemeketa Community College board sat silently as the college’s Chief Financial Officer proposed another tuition increase for the 2019–2020 academic year.

As explained by the college’s President Julie Huckestein and CFO Miriam Scharer, Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s proposed 2019–2021 budget comes with a major cut to the Community College Support Fund to the tune of nearly $30 million. This, along with yet another term of decreasing enrollment, has forced the college to look at all its options.   

Currently, the administration is proposing a $3 increase to tuition per credit and a $6 increase to universal fees per credit. This would bring the cost per credit from the current $105 to the proposed $114 per credit hour. They have also proposed an increase of $3 per credit to out-of-state and international tuition.

Along with the proposed tuition increase, the administration has also recommended the implementation of a differential fee rate to the highest cost courses. This would add a small fee of $5 to $10 per credit hour to certain courses, depending on the state budget.

Riley Dunagan, Associated Students of Chemeketa President said regarding the tuition increase, “I think that, with the situation, it’s something they have to do…I think they’re doing a lot to try to minimize the amount it affects students.”

When asked if the tuition increase would be enough to keep the college healthy, Scharer responded “Our tuition recommendation tonight is part of our financial planning. It is not, in any way, just going to fill a gap…the college is going through the budget process and we’ll be presenting to the Budget Committee in April some significant cuts.”

The Governor’s budget does also include an investment package, which would bring the Community College Support Fund up nearly $70 million dollars from the current $570 Million. But, this is entirely dependent on the passing of a $2 billion revenue package.

The college is currently relying on a projection made by the Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO) of $590 million to the Community College Support Fund in order to construct their budget and proposed tuition increases.

Chemeketa will be holding a student forum regarding the tuition increase at noon Tuesday, Jan. 29 in the Student Center.

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