Reid State to raise rates
Growing list of institutions forced to increase fees to meet needs
By Connie Nowlin
Higher education is going higher – in price, that is.
Reid State Technical College has joined Jefferson Davis Community College by increasing the cost of a credit hour.
Reid State will go up by $8 per credit hour, to $68, according to Dr. Douglas Littles, president of the institution.
Littles said that it was expected each college would insulate itself against the situation in which the school must make up a percentage of the appropriations from the state.
Sometimes those dollars may be found in grants or donations, but more often in the form of tuition hikes.
The college does not expect the increase to impact the enrollment, Littles said, because the school has given students plenty of warning.
"This (cost) is still very low compared to four-year colleges and universities," Littles said. "It makes education and training accessible."
According to the Web site of the chancellor of the university system of Alabama, there is an anticipated 14.98 percent increase in the overall budget. That broke out to nothing at some schools, up to $8 at others, dependent on the needs of the institution.
Each school has a contingency fund, where it keeps enough money to pay two months of expenses.
If the school had enough in that fund, it would not need an increase. If the fund was insufficient, then the fee would increase.
The Web site also pointed out that tuition at the two-year programs are less than the $4,000 ceiling for Pell Grants, and about 60 percent of students in Alabama qualify for those grants.
Jefferson Davis Community College increased its tuition rates by $12 earlier this year. That increase will go into effect in the fall, according to Michele Gerlach, director of marketing and community relations for the college.
The increase at that institution has not impacted preregistration enrollment numbers, Gerlach said.
"We show (preregistration) enrollment numbers up compared to our year-to-date numbers from last year," she said. "We feel like it is still an efficient and cost effective place to get an education."