Tuition will increase at Bucks County Community College starting this fall.
The Bucks County Community College’s Board of Trustees recently approved a tuition increase of $6 per credit for county residents effective for the fall 2011 semester.
Tuition for county residents will increase from $105 to $111 per credit; out-of-county residents from $210 to $222; and out-of-state residents from $315 to $333. The technology support fee will increase by $4 from $26 to $30 per credit.
The increases mean that a student taking 12 credits a semester will pay $3,384 in 2011-2012 academic year, an increase of $240.
College president Dr. James Linksz said the board is always reluctant to raise tuition, but the increase was necessary to balance the budget. Other cuts have been made to mitigate a larger increase, while the college awaits final word from the legislature on state funding for next year, he said.
“The Governor released his budget for the coming year with cuts to higher education. Community colleges fared somewhat better than other sectors but were reduced to 2008-09 funding levels despite the increase of over 32,000 students statewide in the past three years,” Linksz said in a statement.
For Bucks, that means an added cut of $2 million, which has to be dealt with in 2011-12, Linksz explained. Together with the state cut, the expected health cost increases, salaries already negotiated, and increases in fixed expenses such as insurance and utilities, an even greater tuition increase would have been required to balance the budget. But Linksz said such dramatic tuition increases were "clearly unacceptable."
To avoid even larger tuition increases, cuts have been made to protect students’ access to college, Linksz said.
Linksz noted that many institutions throughout the region are facing severe budget problems and are considering capping student enrollment, curtailing programs and services, and other cost-cutting measures in addition to raising tuition. Some colleges are considering zero salary increases for faculty, and others are contemplating reopening union contracts, freezing salaries, staff cuts, and other personnel measures.
The tuition and fee increases at Bucks are in line with national trends, college officials said.
According to The College Board, tuition and fees at public two-year colleges rose an average of six percent during the 2010-11 academic year. Bucks' increase was 5.6 percent. The projections for all colleges are higher for 2011-12 and Bucks is likely to continue to be in line with these with the approved 7.6% increase.
“The board is very concerned about keeping a Bucks education affordable, especially during this difficult economy,” said Board Chair J. Peter Dominick. “We’ve found that our students and their families are better served by predictable and reasonable tuition increases than by wide swings in tuition and fees from year to year. But even with the slightly higher increase this year, we invite students and families to compare Bucks’ costs with those of neighboring colleges and universities.”
For a detailed breakdown of tuition and fees, visit www.bucks.edu.