Photo illustration by Vladimir Avina/Tejano Tribune
The tution increase is set to take effect in Fall 2016, and will continue through Summer 2016.
On March 23 the board of trustees approved a tuition increase.
The increase had also been approved by the Tuition Committee earlier this year. Valle Verde Campus Dean Dr. Jaime Farias said,
“The increase will help put revenue in the college’s general fund and then be used to pay for faculty retention, and technology upgrades such as new computers in labs as a few examples.”
When asked for a comment, EPCC President, Dr. William Serrata said,
“The El Paso Community College Board of Trustees is committed to ensuring that EPCC remains the best value in higher education in the El Paso region.
Due to reductions in state appropriations, the Board of Trustees approved a tuition increase effective Fall 2016.”
EPCC Vice President of Financial and Administrative Operations, Josette Shaughnessy said,
“As a result of the $3.2 million decrease in state funding during the 84th Legislature, the Board of Trustees had no recourse but to raise tuition and taxes in order to balance its $132.4 million budget for fiscal year 2015/2016.”
Despite the tuition increase, Dr. Serrata still feels EPCC remains the most affordable higher education provider in the region.
“In an effort to facilitate student success, The Board of Trustees directed the administration to set tuition for two years, Fall 2016-Summer 2018.
This gives students a goal of completing their associate degree within a 2 year timeframe and know that tuition will remain stable,” he said.
Finally, El Paso Community College is continuously expanding efforts to expand the number of students receiving financial aid. Currently 85% of all first-time-in-college students at EPCC receive some type of financial aid of which 97% is either Pell grants or scholarships.”
Tuition will be increasing by $10 and $15 per credit hour.
With the existing general use fee of $15, there will also be increases on the fees.
“This type of approach had also been suggested by the students involved during last year’s discussion on tuition rates” said Shaughnessy.
With the administration developing a proposal for a tuition rate schedule that’s set for a period of 2 years came a purpose, the purpose of the tuition increase is to “Establish a stable tuition rate for the next two years with the caveat that there will be funding growth from the State of Texas at the 85th Legislature that will convene spring 2017,” said Shaughnessy.
It will also continue funding direct student lab support such as assistants and tutors and district wide lab equipment and supplies.
There are other purposes such as continuing funding student success initiatives and also recruit and retain competent faculty and staff by offering competitive salaries.
“The recommendation also included a $4 per credit hour increase to the General Use Fee in addition to the $1 increase already approved by the Board of Trustees as the final increase increment to the existing general use fee of $15,” explained Shaughnessy.
The purpose of the increase to the General Use Fee is to provide a revenue stream to finance Phase I (A) of the District-Wide Master plan, “Planning of new instructional buildings at all campuses to accommodate the anticipated enrollment growth through 2015 is currently underway.” said Shaughnessy.
Although tuition and fees increases have been steadier for the last few years due to lack of state funding in relationship to the enrollment growth experienced over the years, El Paso Community College still remains affordable and the best value for our students in the El Paso region.”