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Community college tuition to increase 12 percent next year

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges adopted a new tuition schedule at its board meeting today, which includes an average 12 percent tuition increase next year—the maximum allowed by the Legislature in the 2011-13 Operating Budget.

Tuition will go from the current $3,100 per year for a full-time student to approximately $3,500—a 13 percent increase for full-time students, while part-time students will experience an 11 percent increase. The tuition increase will only partially make up for the community and technical college system’s state budget reductions of $77.4 million in FY 2012.

“While we understand the need to raise tuition given the dire fiscal situation we find ourselves in, we are concerned about what this increase means for students,” said Sharon Fairchild, incoming SBCTC board chair. “This is a very difficult decision to make.”

“This is tough,” Board member Erin Mundinger agreed. “I’ll support it, but I don’t like it.”

In response to new funding limitations imposed by the Legislature, the board also approved a new measure limiting the number of college credits Running Start students can take tuition-free. For the first time, the Legislature has limited the combined high school and Running Start college credits (per student) it will fund.

For example, in the past, a Running Start student could choose to take 10 college credits while still attending high school full-time and the state would pay for both the high school and the college credits. Under the new limitation, the state will pay for only three of the 10 college credits in this example. As a result, colleges will now collect tuition on any credits a Running Start student chooses to take beyond a full course load. Students who choose to take no more than a full-time combined course load between high school and college can still participate in Running Start tuition-free.

No other Running Start fees were adopted by the board for the upcoming academic year.

The board also adopted the 2012 Operating Budget Allocation, the 2011-13 Capital Budget Allocations, the 2011-12 Adult Basic Education funding package, and the 2011-12 Workforce Education funding.

After extensive discussion, the board postponed taking any action on a declaration of financial emergency.

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State Board for Community and Technical Colleges