CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County College again will raise its tuition and fee rates.
The $3 a-credit-hour hike is set to take effect in the summer semester. Students now will pay $123.75, up from the former rate of $121. The current rate will be 25 cents less than the tuition raise because of a decrease in a recently implemented infrastructure fee.
“When it comes to top line revenue, this is really the only area we see for significant opportunity,” said MCC President Clinton Gabbard. “I believe this additional revenue will allow us to innovate a bit and cover costs that are coming our way.”
The increase is projected to generate $300,000.
Collective bargaining agreements, the introduction of new programs and declining revenues were cited as reasons to increase tuition costs, Gabbard said.
“The $3 increase will not really deal with all of these,” Gabbard said. “It won’t cover all our opportunities and obligations. We will still be doing cost-cutting.”
The college has raised its rates every year since 2013, which is a reason Trustee Molly Walsh voted no on the proposal. She was the single dissenter on the proposal, which trustees voted on Feb. 22.
“When do we not raise tuition?” Walsh said. “I suspect our needs are always going to be more than what revenue we bring in. That is why we have a budget and prioritize. … This is a 22 percent increase over five years, and that is way over what our inflation rate over five years has been.”
In 2013, tuition at MCC cost $99 a credit hour. Supporters of the most recent raise pointed out that MCC is one of the cheapest community colleges in the area. The programming offers a lot of value for its price, said Trustee Ronald Parrish.
“People are really appreciative of what we are doing here as a college for the cost,” he said. “I would encourage that if we have these fees, we make sure that we are clear on what they are for. The college has gotten an excellent reputation throughout the community for how we are assessing our costs.”
MCC plans to introduce new programs such as physical therapy, human resources and welding, officials said.
“All of that costs money, and we don’t see a return immediately,” Gabbard said. “There are venture costs to starting new programs.”