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RCC hikes tuition by $4 a credit

Citing continuing cuts in state support, Rogue Community College is raising tuition by $4 a credit in July.

In-state tuition will increase 4.5 percent, from $87 a credit to $91. A full load of 12 credits will cost $48 more, or $1,092 a term, not including technology and service fees.

In the past dozen years, state support for RCC has dropped from 40 percent of its budget to 14 percent this coming school year, says Marketing Director Margaret Bradford. In-state tuition has doubled in that time to help make up the difference.

RCC out-of-state tuition will increase from $107 to $111 per credit. International tuition will climb from $291 to $304.

RCC President Peter Angstadt said that with diminished state support, Oregon community colleges will not be able to reach goals set by the last Legislature that by 2025, 40 percent of Oregonians will hold bachelor's degrees or higher, 40 percent will hold associate degrees and the rest will have earned at least a high school diploma or GED.

"If we're going to achieve the goals the state has set, community colleges need more support," Angstadt said in a news release.

The Legislature hasn't yet set funding levels for the Community College Support Fund, but RCC made its decision based on the $6.9 million recommended in the governor's proposed budget.

"It's pretty simple math. The state reimbursement per student keeps going down," says Bradford.

"The state only has income tax to support state-funded programs, after Measure 5 (in 1990) took away property tax support for schools. Tuition is the only revenue source we can count on."

Steadily climbing tuition throughout the nation creates more debt for students upon graduation but, says Bradford, "Our students have told us they need the classes so they can graduate and get jobs. We can't offer programs and classes without paying our teachers.

"Someone is going to have to figure out if we're going to invest in education or not. If you want to train people to be firefighters and nurses ... the cost of that is very high. There's a lot of hand-wringing about student debt, but that's the result of not funding education."

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.