Barhite: Owens’ tuition increase second boost this yearWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
When the summer session begins at Owens Community College on May 21, so will the higher prices for the students taking classes.
The cost of attending Owens has begun a slow climb after remaining steady for a few years.
Many are quick to criticize without actually researching how often the tuition has been raised.
In 2007, the cost was $123 per credit hour at Owens, which is where it remained through 2009. This summer, however, the cost will climb to $146.03 a credit hour.
Tuition increases are becoming more common among community colleges because of state funding cuts, and this marks the second increase for Owens in one year. The cost per credit hour increased from $136.36 in the fall to $138.89 for the spring semester.
The Owens’ Board of Trustees unanimously approved the newest tuition increase April 9. This means that students will pay $146.03 per credit hour as of May 21, which is about a 5 percent increase. For full-time students this equates to an extra $200 a year with the cost for two semesters totaling $4,090.
Owens spokesman Brad Meyer confirmed figures that were revealed at a March finance committee. The tuition increase will generate $2.2 million a year and offset the $1.5 million cut in state support.
Even so, Meyer said Owens is extremely affordable and worth the money.
“We have an outstanding faculty, innovative programs that meet the needs for business and industry in the region, as well as services that are focused on student success,” he said April 25.
Owens prides itself on innovativeness, he said, citing the program geared toward solar energy at Owens.
“We are focused on being at the cutting edge of global economy,” he said.
Here’s a breakdown of the increase in the past five years as reported by Owens staff:
- 2007: $123 per credit hour (spring, summer, fall semesters)
- 2008: $123 per credit hour (all three semesters)
- 2009: $123 per credit hour (all three semesters)
- 2010: $127.30 per credit hour (spring semester)
- 2010: $131.75 per credit hour (summer, fall semesters)
- 2011: $131.75 per credit hour (spring, summer semesters)
- 2011: $136.36 per credit hour (fall semester)
- 2012: $138.89 per credit hour (spring semester)
- 2012: $146.03 per credit hour (summer, fall semesters)
In other community college news, Terra Community College also increased its tuition. During its regular meeting March 28, the board of trustees voted to increase the cost of one credit hour from $134.83 to $141.44, a 5 percent increase. Like Owens, this will cost a full-time student an extra $200 or so a year.
At Monroe County Community College, students are billed under a new system that calculates contact hours, not credit hours. A billable contact hour “reflects an amount of time that a student spends in direct contact with an instructor, laboratory equipment or other instructional setting,” according to its website. One contact hour for a Monroe County resident is $77, while an out-of-county resident pays $132. Out-of-state contact hours for students who live in Toledo, for instance, are $147 each.
The lesson here is to do your research, compare Owens to other community colleges and then form an opinion on if the tuition increase is too soon or just in time.