ACC board OKs slight tuition increase

ALPENA – Students at Alpena Community College will pay slightly more for tuition starting this fall.

The ACC Board of Trustees approved a $4 per contact hour increase for in-district students and dually-enrolled high schoolers, from $111 to $115 per contact hour. For out-of-district students, tuition will increase from $175 to $181 per contact hour. College President Olin Joynton said the increase is necessary in light of increasing costs and falling revenues, and is in line with a potential 3.2 percent cap from the state on community college tuition increases.

“We believe that our revenue is going to be about $100,000 less than a couple of years ago by virtue of lowering the tuition rate for the school systems out of our district to the in-district rate. There’s an example of a cost,” he said. “Utilities have increased, (as have) various other expenses.”

College officials are looking to balance three years of declining enrollments, combined with slumping property values and limited state revenues, Joynton said. The college has cut costs by not allowing faculty to travel for professional development opportunities for a year, but it can’t do so forever or teachers will fall behind. The college also needs to make repairs and cover other costs.

“If you drove your car into our parking lot and driveways, you might’ve noticed some bumpiness due to the very harsh winter,” he said. “We have some work that’s going to turn out to be $50,000 to $75,000 at least to repair the drives so that people can drive their cars on our campus without getting an alignment job afterwards.”

Joynton pointed out ACC is still less expensive than other colleges of its size, citing a U.S. Department of Education report. It said the net annual price to attend ACC is $2,300, compared to an average of $5,768 for the nine other community colleges in the state classified as Group 1.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews. Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at www.thealpenanews.com.