Since the 2000-2001 academic year, tuition at Salt Lake Community College has increased by more than 104 percent.
Students should call their personal representatives and senators to urge them to fully fund higher education. Contacting the governor could also influence the process.
“The best place to influence the first tier is at the legislature,” says SLCC’s interim president Deneece Huftalin. “The difficulty is that state funds are decreasing.”
Tier 1 increases are enacted by the Board of Regents, which is appointed by the governor, for the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) institutions. These institutions include four year universities like the University of Utah, Utah Valley University and Dixie State. SLCC is also included in USHE.
“The Tier 1 has to be consistent across all USHE institutions,” says Huftalin. “The flexibility comes in the second tier.”
That means that the Board of Regents is treating SLCC like a four year university instead of a community college. According to Huftalin, the national average of funding for community colleges is 70 percent from the state and 30 percent from the student.
“We’re trying to get to that, but it’s hard to move the needle,” says Huftalin. At SLCC, the split is 53.5 percent from the state and 46 percent from students.
SLCC is hoping for the legislature to approve acute equity funds to cover the expenses of taking on more students than planned for.
Tier 2 increases are requested by the college to cover those expenses that Tier 1 increases are not earmarked for.
Huftalin says that the college is trying to find other sources of funding, including more outside aid and scholarships. The college is also developing Partnerships for Accessing College Education (PACE).
The PACE program is designed to help underserved high school students learn good academic habits that they can take to college. The students that are successful in this program get a two year scholarship to SLCC.
SLCC is holding its annual Truth in Tuition on Wednesday, March 5 at 11 a.m. The event will be broadcast live to eight of SLCC’s campuses from the Student Event Center at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus. This informational session is designed to give students an insight into the tuition increase process.