On Monday, March 12, Deneece Huftalin, vice president of student services, led a discussion for students about the proposed tuition increase for Salt Lake Community College for the 2012-2013 school year.
The exact percentage of tuition increase is dependent on how much the Board of Regents raises tuition and how it decides to spend the money. SLCC students should expect between a three and six percent increase.
“We need to keep tuition as low as possible,” Huftalin said.
Tuition increases are based on a two-tier system for the eight Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) schools that include SLCC, the University of Utah and Utah State University. The Board of Regents decides on the first tier increase and what that income will fund. The school presidents discuss it, but there is little flexibility in that number, according to Huftalin.
The second tier of increases is optional and is recommended by a school’s president based on the school’s need to advance priorities from a financial standpoint. Last year, SLCC had no second tier increase. Since the 2007-2008 school year, SLCC students have experienced about a 12 percent increase in tuition based on the second tier alone.
The second tier tuition increase will go to fund “Degree Works” to help students better track their graduation requirements, to help software maintenance, with employee compensation, infrastructure and academic and student support. The proposed 3-6 percent increase in tuition would be the total of an increase from both tiers.
Huftalin noted that it has been a favorable year legislatively, as higher education institutions were given some funding that may help keep tuition increase down. Currently, state tax funds generate 50.7 percent of the education budget, 49 percent comes from tuition and the rest comes from the income generated by programs that charge for services. The cosmetology department charging for haircuts is one example of this.
“(49 percent is) a little out of balance,” Huftalin said, noting that she feels as though the state should be paying more and students should be paying less, especially at a community college.
Huftalin said that one of the problems SLCC faces in the legislature is that the legislators do not have an understanding of the difference between a community college and a university. She said that there is now acknowledgement by some legislators that community college tuition should be less expensive than that of a university.
“We need to educate people so they understand that we should be treated differently,” said Tim Sheehan, vice president of Institutional Advancement.
Monday’s presentation was broadcast to different campuses at SLCC including Jordan Campus, Miller Campus and Library Square Campus. About five students attended the presentation at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus.