UPDATE: Parkland Trustees Approve Tuition Hike, Cuts In Tuition Waivers

Parkland College

The Parkland College campus in Champaign, Illinois.

The Parkland College Board gave its tentative approval Wednesday night to a 12% tuition and fee increase for the next academic year, as well as cuts in the Champaign community college's tuition waiver program. Parkland President Tom Ramage says the cuts are just part of what's proposed to adjust to an expected 50% cut in state funding for fiscal year 2017.

Parkland Trustee Gregory Knott expressed a similar view on his Facebook page Wednesday evening. Attaching the News-Gazette's coverage of the vote to his post, Knott wrote, "The mess in Springfield is affecting Parkland significantly."

The News-Gazette, quoting Parkland Chief Financial Officer Chris Randles, says the 12% increase is about double the race of recent annual increases.

The tuition waiver reductions approved by trustees affect five of the college's 25 tuition waiver categories. Speaking before Wendesday night's meeting, President Ramage said waivers in those categories would drop temporarily from 100% to 50%.

Ramage says Parkland officials chose the five categories because they think they will have the least impact on students. At the 100% level, the targeted waivers are worth a total of $575,000.

“It’s $575,000 out of $3.6 million worth of waivers that we think impacts students the least,” said Ramage. “Now, if you’re one of those students, that doesn’t ring true. But it’s 7.6 full-time positions less that I have to cut, if we reduce our tuition expenses.”

Raising tuition and cutting back on tuition waivers are just two changes Parkland College is poised to make in next year's budget. Ramage says Parkland trustees have already voted to raise the college’s property tax levy.

None of these changes affect Parkland’s current budget year. Ramage expects Parkland will spend about $6 million of its reserve funds to make up for the lack of state funding this year, due to the budget impasse -- although a budget deal that includes funding for community colleges could change the equation.

Parkland trustees will take a final vote on the tuition increase at its February meeting.

(Story updated Jan. 21, 2016 at 7:30 AM)

Story source: WILL