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RCC raises tuition, adds fees

Rogue Community College will increase the cost of tuition for all students and implement additional fees for those enrolled in human services courses and several health care programs, with by far the largest cost increases hitting nursing students.

The RCC Board of Education approved a tuition increase March 16 of $4 per credit for Oregon students for the 2021-22 school year, a $5 per-credit increase for out-of-state students and a $13 per-credit increase for international students.

According to RCC, the 3.5% increase for in-state tuition — those students will now pay $120 per credit — is less than both last year’s increase and the average increase over the last 10 years, which has ranged from 2.2% to 5% and has seen a 4.5% hike on average.

RCC Chief Financial Officer Lisa Stanton said the tuition increases are necessary given the lack of state funding.

“Tuition increases are not due to enrollment numbers,” she said. “It’s due to the fact that the state is not funding community colleges at our current service level. Therefore, if we’re not being supported by the state, then our other revenue source is tuition and fees.”

Most of the college’s cost increases will be felt by nursing students starting this fall. That’s when students in RCC’s associate degree nursing program, as well as the college’s new dental hygiene program, will be charged a new fee of $1,600 per term in addition to standard tuition and fees. Students in RCC’s practical nursing program will pay a new $500 fee per term in addition to standard tuition and fees.

Also starting next fall, EMT, paramedicine, human services, medical administrative assisting, medical assisting, pharmacy technician and phlebotomy students will pay a new $100 fee for their practicum course. A new $45 fee was approved for students in the massage therapy program, and three first-aid courses will see course fees go up $5 or less.

Most RCC students will not see an increase in fees next year, as the college services fee will still be $17 per credit and the technical fee $7 per credit.

Stanton said the increase in fees for health care programs represents a shift in how RCC will pass on its costs to students and is standard practice elsewhere.

“These are specialized courses,” she said, “so they require additional instructors, because the student-to-instructor ratio is very low. They also have very high-cost equipment and supply needs. So when you’re looking at all of those costs, you have to make a decision. Do you increase tuition and fees for everyone at the college or do you just make it for that particular program?

“So when we were looking at other community colleges and universities, what we were finding was most of them have specialized fees for these types of programs that are quite expensive to run. And so we did make a philosophy change that we will charge those programs those fees, and we’re in line with what other community colleges in Oregon are charging.”

Joe Zavala can be reached at 541-821-0829 or jzavala@rosebudmedia.com.

The view from the third floor of the Higher Education Center at Eighth and Bartlett streets in downtown Medford shows part of the revitalized neighborhood around the campus. file photo