Salt Lake Community College is proposing a potential tuition increase for the 2020-21 academic school year by 1%, 1.5%, or 2%. For a 12-18 credit hour load, this translates to an additional $17-$35 per semester.
SLCC’s funding takes a hit
SLCC is looking to increase the tuition because the Utah State Legislature only provides 63.2% of SLCC’s funding from state tax funds. The proposed tuition increase would cover the remaining percentage that the legislature does not cover.
The state legislature is asked to cover 100% of the school’s funding, but lawmakers believe part of the funding is expected to come from the students and their tuition.
“We get two funding sources: state funds, and then tuition,” says SLCC President Deneece G. Huftalin.
Huftalin breaks down the school’s goals with the budget decisions.
“Increase student completion, improve transfer preparation and pathways, align with and respond to workforce needs, achieve equity in student participation and completion, and secure institutional sustainability and capacity,” she says. “We are arguing with the legislature to consider differential funding for community colleges, so right now … there is 63% that is state funded, and the balance is tuition.”
Where student dollars are going
The tuition increase will be covering the compensation imbalance SLCC doesn’t receive from the legislature. This imbalance consists of the 25% of compensation insurance, 25% of health benefits insurance and 37% of state risk insurance.
Huftalin explains that hiring more staff and providing them with the support they need will set students up for success.
“We have phenomenal faculty and that’s going to make a difference in the way you learn,” says Huftalin.
SLCC plans to target this funding towards supporting and hiring faculty.
“When we can pay our staff and faculty at a competitive wage and keep them happy and retain them, then they can be better teachers, be better advisors, be better public safety officers, because they feel valued as an employee,” says Huftalin.
Students are in college’s best interest
Student Association President Mason Bancroft believes student success is in SLCC’s best interest. By paying a small percentage more, students can make a difference in how they are taught.
“$10 can really make a difference between access to higher education and not have education at all,” he says.
Students are always encouraged to get involved to help solve issues such as these.
Students can do things such as find their legislator and talk to them. Informing them of problems students have and sharing their story so the legislator understands the students’ perspective.
Students are also encouraged to vote. Being informed about the values of Utah’s legislators, or potential legislators, will help students vote for those that have the students’ best interest in mind.
SLCC taking action for successful students
SLCC works hard and takes the necessary steps to encourage students to finish school and move on to a university. The college challenges professors to guide students on the right path to success.
“We’re strengthening the employees who kind of are there to guide you and teach you on the road to success. So that’s how we’ll ensure that you’ll be better. I hope that’s how it works,” says Huftalin.