Posted on: February 11, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Graphic by Sarah Schudt

By Nick Stulga, News Editor

Faced with declining enrollment and rising inflation, Moraine Valley is planning a tuition increase of $3 per credit hour for in-district students, $8 for out-of-district students and $9 for out-of-state students. The proposed hike goes to the college’s Board of Trustees for approval on Tuesday.

Administrators say the increase is necessary to maintain the level of resources and staff the college provides to the community. They held a “tuition talk” event Wednesday via WebEx to explain what the college was proposing and allow students to give their opinions.

Among the five students participating in the talk was Student Trustee Delilah Wietasch, who said the increase will help fund resources such as tutoring, the Speaking and Writing Center, the Job Resource Center and COVID testing.

“Just [paying] out of pocket for the gym, it’s expensive. Having a college gym, it’s worth it,” said Wietasch. “I’m sure not a lot of students are going to be very whoopty-do about it, but I don’t see the big problem with it because of all these resources.”

When you look at the quality of what you’re getting … it’s really worth it.”

Normah Salleh-Barone, VP of Student Development

Moraine offers some of the best value to its students, especially in comparison to other community colleges, said Vice President of Student Development Normah Salleh-Barone.

“Tuition credit is going to maintain this environment,” Salleh-Barone said. “When you look at the cost of what other community colleges are charging students, when you look at the quality of what you’re getting … it’s really worth it.”

Inflation and rising prices all across the board were also mentioned during the tuition talk event as reasons for the increase. 

Vice President of Financial Affairs Theresa O’Carroll said the increase will help Moraine pay employees as “the college cost of compensation for employees continues to rise.” The college also wants to keep its prices in line with its competitors.

Other colleges have raised tuition by $17 to $25 per credit hour, according to Salleh-Barone. Raising the prices gradually will allow Moraine to stay affordable as it recovers from financial trouble brought on by the pandemic, she said.

“We’re asking a very conservative amount,” Salleh-Barone said.  “We understand what our students are going through.” 

Some students at Moraine, however, are not in favor of the price hike.

Liberal arts major Marly Berry says inflation not only affects the college itself but also affects students.

“With inflation and whatnot, I don’t think people are going to be able to afford it,” Berry said. “Them making college even more expensive–even by just a couple dollars–is going to make going to college even harder.”

I feel like people come here because it’s affordable, so why raise the price?”

Julia Garcia, student

Patricio Aranda, another liberal arts major, says students should not have to take the fall for an enrollment decline.

“I don’t think we as students should be paying for their loss in tuition,” Aranda said. “I don’t feel like the reasoning is there.”

Julia Garcia, whose major is undecided, believes the increased cost of tuition will actually lead to an even greater enrollment decline.

“I feel like people come here because it’s affordable, so why raise the price?” Garcia said.

Administrators say they took these kinds of things into consideration before proposing the increase.

“Raising tuition of any kind is done with a lot of planning, a lot of thought,” O’Carroll said. “It’s not something that we take lightly at all. There’s a lot of planning and discussion that’s gone into this.”