JACKSON, Mich. — Jackson College is raising its tuition by 4.5%, saying it’s due to rising inflation.
The board approved increasing district tuition to $176 per credit hour, an increase of $8. Out-of-district students will see their tuition increase by $9 per credit hour to $199.
“Raising tuition is a very difficult decision for our board of trustees in any given year,” Jackson College President Daniel Phelan said. “Jackson College is not immune to the ups and downs of the economy that everyone expects. We are seeing significant increases in raw materials and building materials and supplies. We want to be able to keep tuition fees as low as possible.
The board lowered tuition for out-of-state students to $264 per credit hour, a decrease of $63.
Another reason for raising tuition, according to Phelan, has to do with the amount of money coming in from property taxes.
“Ideally, you want it to be one-third, one-third and one-third. One-third state, one-third students, and one-third local taxpayers, and we’ve become unbalanced over time,” Phelan said. “I think partly because we have the lowest tax rate, and we still need to have tax revenue to help us deal with the different challenges.”
They also operate on their original charter mile of 1.33 mill, which was established in 1965. It now sits at 1.13 mill due to the Headlee Amendment, which limits tax increases collected at inflation rate. It is possible to override the limits imposed by the amendment by asking the public to vote on it.
“The net effect of all of this is that we’re about $1 million a year short of what we would have gotten if we had gotten the full mileage rate without the Headlee effect,” Phelan said.
Community colleges have seen enrollment plummet across the state of Michigan.
Over the past five years, community college enrollment plummeted from nearly 208,000 in fall 2016 to nearly 160,000 in fall 2020 at the height of the pandemic, according to the Michigan Center for Educational Performance and Education.
Jackson College saw its enrollment drop over this period, from 5,701 to 4,723. As of fall 2021, enrollment was up slightly to 4,797. Phelan believes, based on their forecasting model budget, that they will be at pre-pandemic levels by June 2023.
“With the exception of the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and I believe Michigan Tech, all higher education institutions, public and private, have lost enrollment. Jackson College is no exception,” Phelan said. “I will tell you though that since we kind of got on the back of this pandemic that we are still in, we have seen increases in enrollment. Although we are still below pre-pandemic levels, we are increasing. »
Phelan said there are savings for students, including reducing the cost of online courses from $60 to $40 per credit hour and a partnership with an e-textbook provider that lowers the cost of textbooks. digital at $50 for a single class.
“They’re actually going to pay less because of what they’re used to paying for books and what they’re used to paying for online courses,” he said. “The net effect is actually negative. They will pay less to come to Jackson College than they did last year and it’s up to us to get that message across.
New tuition begins this fall. Fall semester classes begin August 29.
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