By Rodney Blu
Next spring, tuition for area community colleges will see a bump that will result in a projected $6.6 million in revenue, in addition to an expected $32 million in the accompanying property tax leap, according to CBS-DFW.
Given the green light in the most recent meeting of the board of trustees, the tuition hike will add $7 to the current $49 per credit hour price for Dallas County Community College District’s seven campuses.
Since losing $23 million in state funding over the past five years, the district has seen student enrollment increase by 20 percent, according to Dallas Business Journal. These two otherwise uncorrelated statistics have in conjunction spelled a budgeting shortfall for the district that has implemented various measures before reaching the present and probably toughest ultimatum.
“We’ve done everything we possibly can,” said DCCCD media relations director Anne Hatch.
The six-to-one vote on Sept. 4 at the monthly public meeting drew many emotions from spectators, part of the largest turnout since the 1980s. Many opposed to the controversial decision feel students and parents have it tough as it is in the weakened economy and find a spike in tuition flat-out inconsiderate.
“How is it a bold move to have a tuition increase for people that can’t find jobs and their parents don’t have jobs?” said Joann Shields in The Richland Chronicle. This sentiment mirrors the perspective of many students at Brookhaven College.
“It’s going to create a lot of problems for students, the most of which are financially unstable,” freshman Marquis Johnson, who is also aware of various campus’ alternative means of compensating for the change, said. “I heard of students at Collin College having a bake-off to raise money for the school and its programs.”
The other side of the proverbial coin may draw some sympathy from opponents of the ruling. Brookhaven’s president, Dr. Thom Chesney, said many remaining and well-deserving DCCCD employees haven’t had as much as a penny raise in close to five years as a result of dwindling funds.
The raise in tax and tuition will accommodate both what’s necessary for staff and administration and facilities otherwise facing neglect throughout the district.
“Four years without any kind of cost-of-living adjustments or any sort of increase of salaries — that was one of the primary reasons for the increase,” Chesney said. “Some of it’s going to things that, over time, maintenance of would be deferred or waited on — those things were not going to get done without this proposal’s approval.” He also said, because the decision immediately affects the growing academic body, students should become more aware of such motions by the board and its tangible results.
DCCCD board meetings are held the first Tuesday of every month at 4 p.m. at the district office, located at 1601 S. Lamar St. in downtown Dallas and are open to the public. Students can visit the DCCCD website for more information and access to the board’s full agenda. Follow the Brookhaven Courier as this story and its developments progress.