By Lauren Ramirez
Tuition is increasing for the second time this year at El Paso Community College.
The EPCC Board of Trustees approved an increase in tuition in the early spring raising $3 per credit hour for resident student tuition and $5 per credit hour for nonresident student tuition.
Josette Shaughnessy, associate vice president for budget and financial services, said EPCC has experienced an enrollment decline and needed to cover that revenue shortfall.
Victoria Acosta / Tejano Tribune
Enrollment Services Center at the Valle Verde campus. Tuition will increase for students in the fall.
The budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal years was $130 million, but EPCC is projecting a budget shortfall to $4 million.
“The Board of Trustees felt like it would be less taxing on the students knowing that we probably would have to increase tuition for this next year,” she said.
“We did not want to have an increase starting the fall of 2014; instead it was effective in spring 2015. Even though students did pay less tuition that they would have paid otherwise if we have implemented [tuition increase] in the fall of 2014.”
Student tuition is rising because of the reduction in state funding.
Examining their budget for the fiscal year 2015-2016, the State Legislature feels necessary that EPCC should not be funded at the same level they were funded last biennium due to enrollment decline.
For the increase in tuition and general use fees, residents will see a 7 percent increase and non-resident students will see a 6 percent increase difference.
“Even though students will be expecting an upcoming increase, we still provide good quality education here at EPCC,” Shaughnessy said.
“We encourage our students to inquire avenues to fund their education by taking advantage of financial aid offices and apply for scholarships that they have access to here at the college.”
Student tuition goes toward the operating budget, which is to fund instruction and class resources to benefit their educational studies.
Full-time courses will add up to $1,188 for 12 credit hours, which is $84 more than the current rate for residential students.
Non-resident students enrolled full-time will be looking at an expected $2,106 cost of enrollment, which is $108 more than the current rate.
“Demonstration is very much in touch with the responsibility and the accountability in tuition increase demands,” Shaughnessy said.
The EPCC Board of Trustees approved the tuition increase on March 25. It will be applied to fall registration of 2015.
“I cannot promise that we are never going to increase tuition in the next two years because we never know what could happen at the state level,” Shaughnessy said.
“We are trying to deal with the current fiscal year and the next one as well and see how our enrollment develops as well as state funding.”