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The hike in student costs is blamed on inadequate state funding for schools and a dip in enrollment

PMG FILE PHOTO  - The cost of getting to graduation will be higher for new students at Mt. Hood Community College starting with the summer 2019 term. As its enrollment declines, Mt. Hood Community College is raising tuition by 8 percent.

The Mt. Hood Community College board Wednesday night approved an $8 per credit hour increase in tuition for most students, starting in the upcoming summer term.

"It's unfortunate," board member Annette Mattson said at the March 20 meeting, blaming the tuition hike on lack of adequate state funding for community colleges.

The increase is MHCC's largest percentage jump in tuition costs in a decade. The college also is boosting its student government fee by 25 cents per credit.

Including fees, the total cost per-credit will be $125.50 for the 2019-20 school year, up from $117.25 a year earlier. A full-time student takes at least 12 credit hours.

Enrollment is down 7 percent in the winter term from the year earlier. Spring registrations are running 15 percent behind last year so far, but that gap is expected to narrow as more students sign up for spring term.

The college projects a 2 percent decline in enrollment next year, which is typical given the prevailing economic conditions. When unemployment is low, as it currently is, more potential students are working and community colleges generally have fewer students taking classes. When it is harder to get a job, however, more students head to community colleges to improve their skills or get credentials.

With the decline in enrollment and increasing costs, the college projects a $6.4 million budget shortfall for the next two years.

To fill the gap, MHCC will increase revenues with the tuition hike and other means and plans to cut spending $1.7 million in each of the next two years.


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