Chemeketa administration proposes tuition increase to offset state cuts, declining enrollment

The Chemeketa Community College board sat silently Wednesday night as the college’s chief financial officer proposed another tuition increase for the 2019-2020 academic year.

As explained by college President Julie Huckestein and Chief Financial Officer Miriam Scharer, Gov. Kate Brown’s proposed 2019-2021 budget comes with a $30 million cut in community college funding. This possibility, along with yet another term of decreasing enrollment, has forced the college to look at all options.

The college currently has 14,000 students. 

Currently college administrators are proposing a $3 increase to tuition and a $6 increase to universal fees per credit. This would bring the cost per credit from the current $105 to $114. They have also proposed an increase of $3 per credit to out-of-state and international tuition.

Along with the proposed tuition increase, the administration has also recommended a differential fee for the highest cost courses. This would add $5 to $10 per credit hour to certain courses, depending on the state budget.

Riley Dunagan, Associated Students of Chemeketa president said regarding the tuition increase, “I think that, with the situation, it’s something they have to do. I think they’re doing a lot to try to minimize the amount it effects students.”

Asked if the tuition increase would be enough to keep the college healthy, Scharer responded, “Our tuition recommendation tonight is part of our financial planning. It is not, in any way, just going to fill a gap.”

She said administrators plan to recommend to the Budget Committee in April “some significant cuts.”

The governor has separately proposed an increase in community college funding, but that would entirely dependent on the passing of a $2 billion revenue package.

Chemeketa will be holding a student forum regarding the tuition increase at noon Tuesday, Jan. 29, in the Student Center.

Kaitlyn Wimmer is a journalism student at Chemeketa Community College and editor-in-chief of the Chemeketa Courier. This article is part of a partnership between the Courier and Salem Reporter.