WSCC increases tuition rate, simplifies fees, gives discount to veterans
BRETHREN — The West Shore Community College (WSCC) Board of Trustees increased tuition rates by 2.9 percent for the next academic year and replaced the current fee system for student services with a flat rate charge of $20 per contact hour, capped at 20 hours.
During the board’s off-campus meeting Monday evening at Kaleva Norman Dickson School District in Brethren, the trustees unanimously approved each of the items voted on, said Thom Hawley, WSCC executive director of college relations. Trustee James Barker was absent.
The WSCC rate for in-district students is increasing from $103 to $106 per credit hour; the out-of-district tuition rate is rising from $165 to $170 per credit hour; and the out-of-state tuition rate is increasing from $230 to $240 per credit hour for the academic year starting July 1.
During the past 10 years, WSCC has increased its tuition rate by an average of $3.10 annually or 3.66 percent, according to a memo from WSCC President Scott Ward. He stated that increasing tuition is needed because of rising operational costs and a projected decline in enrollment.
Hawley said the operational costs include the increasing expenses of utilities, personnel and insurance.
“Those are the kind of things that make increases each year,” he said.
WSCC’s current in-district tuition rate is the lowest among Michigan’s smallest 10 community colleges, and it is expected to remain the lowest tuition rate, especially since the other colleges will likely raise their rates as well, according to Ward.
The board approved changing the college’s fee system — which had charged students four separate fees for registration, technology, activities and services — to instead charge a single fee at a flat rate of $20 per contact hour to raise the funds for these same services, in addition to the price of tuition.
“It eliminates all the other fees that are listed. They’re all built into this new fee,” Hawley said.
A big reason for creating this new, simpler system was because the multiple fees could be confusing for students and employees of the college, Hawley said. The flat rate will also make it easier to report tuition and fee results to the State of Michigan.
“It’s less confusing to students and less confusing to us (administering) the fees.”
Students will pay $20 per contact hour, up to a maximum of 20 hours. Students in programs such as nursing and the police academy that typically require more than 20 contact hours would not be charged the $20-per-hour fee for the additional time, Hawley said.
Hawley explained that the 20-hour cap was included in the change after the trustees consulted with college administrators who oversee programs that might be adversely affected by the fee structure as it was originally presented without the cap. The 20-hour cap ensures “a fair and equitable fee to our students,” Hawley added.
In the prior system, the rates per credit hour were: registration fee, $7; technology fee, $7; student activities fee, $3; and the student services fee was $20 for students with one to five contact hours, $43 for six to 11 contact hours and $46 for 12 or more contact hours.
The board approved a policy change that gives veterans, their spouses and children the in-district rate for tuition and fees regardless of their formal state of residence.
The policy revision brings the college into compliance with federal law, which requires veterans to get the in-state tuition price, but WSCC went one step further by offering veterans and their families the college’s lowest rate, according to Ward.
The board scheduled a special meeting for 4 p.m. June 4 at WSCC to certify the college’s final property tax levy figures.
The trustees reviewed and approved the list of 128 graduates for the winter semester.
The board holds two off-campus meetings each year, and Hawley added that the trustees were grateful to meet at the Kaleva Norman Dickson School District Monday.
“It’s a great opportunity to connect with the school districts we serve and the boards of education that we have contact with,” Hawley said.