By Debbie Hadley
Starting next fall, Pima Community College students who are Arizona residents will pay $2.50 more per credit hour for tuition and fees.
The Board of Governors voted April 14 to raise in-state tuition and fees to $58 per unit, a 4.5 percent increase. A student taking 12 units will pay an extra $30.
At least one PCC student is unhappy with the increase. “I think it’s crap. We’re paying so much already,” Stacy Mills said. “It just keeps going up and up and up. They keep raising the prices and decreasing the quality.”
The new per-credit cost includes a $2 increase in tuition and a 50-cent boost in Student Services fees to help fund athletic equipment expenses. A $2 Information Technology fee remains unchanged.
“It’s kinda dumb, but it’s only 30 bucks,” student Travis Graham said. “It would be a bigger effect if you weren’t living at home, paying rent, and have a minimum wage job.”
The governing board also increased tuition for non-residents. Costs depend on how many units they take and when they take them.
Non-residents taking six units or fewer will pay $3.50 more, $94.50 per unit. Non-residents taking more than six units will pay $10.50 more, $273.50 per unit. Non-residents taking summer classes will pay $7.50 more, $179.50 per unit.
In addition, board members revised cost-recovery fees for specific courses, tests and services. The fee for a class that requires supplies will increase by $5.
The new rates will provide $1.4 million to assist with rising enrollment and lower state funding, Chancellor Roy Flores said.
PCC’s per-unit tuition is the fourth lowest among Arizona community colleges.
Administrators noted that Coconino Community College will have a $10 per unit tuition increase next fall and Mohave Community College will introduce a new fee.
Student Amanda Mills noted that Pima costs far less than attending a university. “It’s way cheaper than anywhere else you could go,” she said.
During meeting discussion, board member Scott Stewart voiced concerns about increasing tuition rates before setting the property tax rate.
“In some ways I think it’s premature to say ‘this is what the tuition should be,’” Stewart said. “I anticipate that we’ll be in favor of a local property tax increase. We don’t know that people aren’t going to show up with pitchforks and persuade us differently.”
Flores said that if the board opts not to increase property taxes, tuition would have to be raised by another couple of dollars. Another option would be to make further budget cuts. “It’s not necessarily a given that one would offset the other,” he said.
Board discussion also looked ahead to the May 18 special election for Proposition 100, which asks Arizona voters to approve a temporary increase in the state sales tax.
If the proposition fails, Flores said the state will likely make more cuts to education.
“We’re looking at a scenario that’s pretty ugly, with no good choices,” he said.
During the past decade, PCC has raised tuition and fees by $1 to $3 each year.
West Campus student Dwayne Ayers sees the increase as something that will make little difference.
“It doesn’t really affect me that much,” he said.
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