Whether to increase and restructure tuition at the state’s community colleges starting with the 2019-2020 school year will be the primary topic at the Wyoming Community College Commission meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 16, in Rock Springs.
According to the WCCC agenda, the board will consider a tuition hike from $94 per credit to $110. Additionally, the board will consider moving the tuition cap from 12 hours to 15 hours. The tuition cap is currently set at 12 hours, meaning students pay per-credit hour up to 12 hours, and all credits beyond 12 hours are at no additional charge.
Last academic school year, the commission voted to lift the tuition cap entirely, which would have required students to pay for each credit. The decision was reversed when the University of Wyoming moved away from per-credit pricing and implemented its own block tuition.
There are multiple possibilities for tuition pricing and structure, LCCC President Dr. Joe Schaffer said. The commission may decide to leave the cap at 12 credits, move the cap to 15 credits, or remove the cap entirely, Schaffer said.
Right now, in-state LCCC students pay $142.75 for each credit in tuition and fees; $94 is tuition and $48.75 are fees. At 12 credit hours, the cost to attend full-time is $1713 per semester. If the tuition cap is moved to 15 credits with no increase in tuition, the in-state cost per semester would be $2,141.25.
Schaffer says there are pros and cons to the tuition cap.
“I think if the tuition goes up a big benefit would always be that there is additional revenue for the college to operate on. That revenue can go to help certain services, programs, areas that may be lacking,” Schaffer said.
Schaffer also said that the funding from the hike could benefit the students now due to lack of funding because of the low economy.
One of the drawbacks of removing the tuition cap is that it can make college unaffordable for some students.
“Affordability is something we’re in tune to here at LCCC, and so we want to make sure that students still come to college instead of say go to work, or do something else, or even heaven forbid go out of state for college,” Schaffer said.