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Tuition hike at community colleges eyed


Trustees of the Maine Community College System are expected to consider a tuition rate increase of about 2.5 percent when they meet Wednesday.

President John Fitzsimmons plans to recommend approval. The meeting will be held at Kennebec Valley Community College.

Additional revenue would go toward bolstering student support and faculty staffing, according to the systems public affairs officer, Helen Pelletier.

“Community colleges have grown 47 percent (in enrollment) in the last four years, and state support has increased 10 percent,” she said. “And so colleges have really been stretched thin.”

Pelletier said a 2.5 percent tuition increase would increase the cost per credit hour from $78 to $80.

Last year, tuition went up 5.4 percent, Pelletier said.

“I think we’re always very sensitive to the cost of community colleges,” she said. “They are the most affordable option for students in this state, so we try very hard to contain the costs for students.”

Pelletier said the seven-college system operates on an annual budget of $114 million with about 45 percent coming from the state, 25 percent from tuition and 20 percent from federal grants.

The Maine Community College System is composed of York County Community College in Wells, Washington County Community College in Calais, Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle, Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield, Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor and Central Maine Community College in Auburn.

Pelletier said raising the cost per credit hour to $80 from $78 would boost the annual tuition for a full 30-hour course load to $2,400 from $2,340.

University of Maine students will pay an estimated $218 per credit hour, $6,540 per year for a full course load, according to Joe Carr, director of university relations.

Information from: Morning Sentinel,

– Associated Press

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