Students will pay the price if legislation approves budget cuts at Salt Lake Community College. The forum held in the Student Event Center on Tuesday, Feb.23 was the place to go to get information about the proposed tuition increase. Salt Lake Community College President Cynthia Bioteau spoke to students at the Taylorsville Redwood campus, with live broadcast viewings at additional campuses, to answer questions and address concerns about the future cost of tuition.
Bioteau explained the main reason tuition rates could go up is because of the decreased funding from the state legislature. She emphasized that the funds need to come from somewhere, namely tuition. Bioteau has already met with legislative representatives to fight against budget cuts. With state budget cuts in the making, SLCC has to turn to funds from tuition to make up the difference.
As of 2009-2010, 58.5 percent of the revenue at SLCC comes from the state legislature tax funds, whereas 41.2 percent comes from tuition and the rest from other sources. The proposed amount of increase for tuition will be between four and six percent, depending on the second tier increase. That increase, added to the first tier increase proposed at 1.5 percent, would end up costing full-time resident undergraduate students an extra $65 to $95 dollars.
Some students agree that the tuition needs to be increased to give students the same quality education that they have received thus far from SLCC. Full-time student Austin Chappell, who is studying communication, says he feels increased tuition is necessary in order to sustain the life of this college. He further commented that he would like to see the money being used to bring in qualified teachers rather than on new technology in the classrooms. When asked what Chappell thought about closing Sandy Campus, he agreed that it is a necessary course of action if the college is going to do what they say they will.
Bioteau explained that courses currently being taught at the Sandy Campus will be moved to neighboring campuses, such as the Miller Campus about four miles away. In order to meet budget reductions, SLCC is closing the Sandy Center to save over a million dollars. Courses of action are being done to help keep student tuition rates down.
Bioteau understands the need to keep tuition low. “Wherever possible we must keep our tuition as low as possible,” she says. She is also aware of the ever-decreasing budget to balance. The importance of balancing a budget is increasingly important in this economy where so many other businesses and institutions are struggling to stay out of debt.
Despite the proposed increase of tuition, SLCC will remain the cheapest institution of higher education in the state. SLCC is still aiming to become the premier community college in the country, which includes making higher education affordable. The proposed use of the money will go towards course section access, core student support, enhanced staffing at sites and enhanced IT security. The future cost of tuition is still uncertain, but what the college strives to achieve isn’t.