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RCC raises fees, but not tuition, for 2022-23

Rogue Community College was recently named a finalist for the Bellwether Award.(photo courtesy of Rogue Community College)
The decision approved by the school’s board recognizes COVID-19’s impact on students

Rogue Community College has decided to not raise tuition for the upcoming school year.

The institution’s Board of Education made that decision last week, at the recommendation of President Cathy Kemper-Pelle, who came to the board after “extensive fiscal evaluations by staff,” a spokesperson said.

For the 2022-23 academic year, RCC students who live in Oregon will pay a tuition rate of $120 per credit hour; $148 per credit hour if they are not residents; and $400 per credit hour if they’re international students.

The decision not to raise tuition in the coming year was made with RCC knowing it would not be the recipient of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds, which helped offset tuition by $4 per credit hour in the 2021-22 academic year.

“In our planning for the 2022-23 academic year, where there will be no ARPA funding to offset tuition increases, we felt it would be a disservice to students to raise tuition above the 2021-22 approved rate of $120 per credit for in-state students,” Kemper-Pelle said in a prepared statement, noting that the rates for out-of-state and international students will not change next year.

“We know that the impacts of COVID-19 continue to affect our students’ budgets, and holding tuition steady helps them financially in realizing their academic goals,” she said.

“Tuition is just one source of operating revenue, and one that directly impacts our students’ ability to attend RCC,” Kemper-Pelle stated. “With our board’s decision to hold tuition rates steady, we are implementing a college-wide prioritization process that will reduce operating costs.”

At the same time, the college is seeking to increase enrollment to generate more tuition revenue and higher state funding levels, Kemper-Pelle stated.

“These other measures ensure our students benefit from more affordable tuition,” she wrote. “Increased enrollment also strengthens the local economy and employment pipeline by preparing more people for the workplace.”

RCC has close to 30 different types of fees — from backpacking to manufacturing — but what must be paid varies by student, according to Julie Raefield, the college’s community and government relations coordinator and public information officer.

The latest fee table for the 2022-23 school year shows most rates are going up. They range from $10 per credit for manufacturing to $222 for mountaineering.

Students who want to engage in hiking and kayaking in the San Juan Islands of Washington will pay a fee of $1,481, but, Raefield noted, the location of the trip changes each time it is offered.

“The fee associated with this course is based on actual cost-recovery,” she wrote in an email.

On the issue of fees, Raefield noted that RCC “transitioned away from a previous student general fee model” beginning in 2020-21. However, there are some fees all students continue to pay: one for “college service” and another for technology.

RCC’s decision on tuition and fees for the 2022-23 school year came the same week that Southern Oregon University made decisions on those items for the same time frame. Unlike the community college, both tuition and fees will go up at the Ashland institution for the 2022-23 school year.

Reach reporter Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or kopsahl@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.