Highland Community College Trustees consider tuition increase

During their February 17 regular meeting, the Highland Community College Board of Trustees approved a first reading of a $10 per credit hour tuition increase beginning with the Fall 2015 Semester. This was the first of two readings required to approve the new tuition rate.

If approved, in-district tuition would increase from $118 per credit hour to $128 per credit hour and the senior citizen rate would increase from $89 to $96 per credit hour.

Trustees are considering the proposal primarily due to decreased state and local property tax revenue. Traditionally, the three main components of the College's operating budget are state unrestricted grants, property taxes, and tuition and fees, funded by an equal share of these three sources.

With state funding now comprising only 13 percent of the HCC operating fund, Vice President of Administrative Services Jill Janssen explained that the increase of $10 per credit hour would help offset reductions in state funding and local property values. For fiscal year 2015, Highland is expecting local property taxes to contribute 45 percent, with 36 percent of revenue generated from tuition and fees. The remaining six percent comes from other sources.

"The College has experienced declining revenue from the state in recent years, amounting to an average reduction of about $100,000 per year over the course of the last five fiscal years," said Janssen. "Highland aims to maintain the overall tax rate at a consistent level from year-to-year; however, this effort to maintain a consistent tax rate now results in decreased local tax revenue because of lower property values in the district."

Janssen also noted that from fiscal year 2015 to budgeted fiscal year 2016, expenses are expected to grow about three percent.The College has taken steps to control costs through a reduction in contractual services, capital equipment, employee travel and training, and utilities, as well as renegotiation of certain employee benefits and leaving open positions vacant.

In other news, trustees approved:

  •  the list of part-time instructors, overload and other assignments for the Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters.
  •  two new programs:  Early Childhood Education Infant/Toddler Certificate and Early Childhood Education Infant/Toddler Level 3 Credential - Certificate.  These programs will now be forwarded to the Illinois Community College Board for approval.
  •  renewal of a memorandum of understanding between Highland and the University of Oklahoma for Early Childhood Education Online Training.
  •  a revised job description for Director, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, and the appointment of Ms. Cindi Mielke as the new Director, effective April 1. 
  •  a $2 per ticket fee added to the cost of all tickets purchased for Fine Arts events.  The fee is effective beginning with the Summerset Theatre performances during the summer of 2015.
  •  a three-year agreement with HealthCheck 360 for annual biometric screening and health risk assessment services at a standard rate of $125 per participant.
  •  the annual lease with the University of Illinois Extension – Stephenson County for fiscal year 2016.  The lease represents a three percent increase over the fiscal year 2015 lease.

The next regular board meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. in the Robert J. Rimington Board room in the Student/Conference Center. The next quarterly board retreat is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 8:30 a.m. in room H-206 in the Student/Conference Center.

2998 W. Pearl City Road
Freeport, IL 61032-9341

Fax 815-235-6130

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