Parkland board considers tuition increase

Parkland board considers tuition increase

CHAMPAIGN — Citing a decline in state financial support in recent years, Parkland College has proposed to increase tuition by more than 6 percent starting this summer.

Administrators also are recommending a new mandatory fee for students — a $7 per credit hour technology fee.

The tuition and technology fee proposals are pending approval from the community college's board of trustees, which is scheduled to meet Wednesday evening on the campus.

According to the draft proposal, in-district students would pay $116 per credit hour, up from the current rate of $109. Add in fees, including the new technology fee, and the total amount is $131.50 per credit hour.

That means a full-time Parkland student who takes 15 credit hours a semester would pay approximately $1,972.50 in tuition and fees.

Tuition for in-state but out-of-the community college district, as well as for out-of-state and international students, could also rise just over 6 percent. Illinois students who live outside of Parkland's district (which includes Champaign County and parts of several surrounding counties) would pay $303 per credit hour, up $18 from $285. Out-of-state and international students would pay $463, up $28 from $435, according to the proposal.

Last year, trustees approved a 5.3 percent increase in tuition.

"Both administration and the board (of trustees) are conscious of the cost of higher education, but state funding continues to dwindle," said Chris Randles, Parkland's chief financial officer.

Parkland is funded by state money, local property taxes and tuition. Traditionally, each one of those sectors contributes one-third of the college's budget. However, the state portion has been closer to 11 percent, Randles said. Last year, the community college received $454,984 less in state funding for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014 compared with the previous year.

In addition, the equalized assessed value of properties in the district, on which property taxes are based, has stagnated in recent years, which means there hasn't been an increase in revenue from property taxes, he added.

The technology fee is expected to bring in about $1.4 million annually in new revenue for the college.

"It will be used for all matters of technology," Randles said. The college currently spends about $3 million annually in its entire information technology operation, including hardware, ongoing software agreements, licenses with companies like Microsoft, staffing, training and other areas.

Two area community colleges are considering increases in tuition:

Parkland: $116 per credit hour, up from $109

DACC: $110 per credit hour, up from $110

Talking tuition

What: Parkland College Board of Trustees meeting

When: Budget workship begins 5:30 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 19, 2014)

Where: Room D244, at the campus, 2400 W. Bradley Ave., C.

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