By Alex Baumhardt
Oregon’s 17 community colleges have committed to keeping tuition low next year in the face of rising costs from inflation and declining enrollments.
Four community colleges are planning no tuition increases, including Portland Community College, the state’s largest by enrollment.
At most of the other community colleges, tuition will go up by no more than a few dollars per credit hour, with the maximum increase being $8.50 per credit hour, at Lane Community College in Eugene.
In-state tuition at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Tillamook Bay Community College in Tillamook and Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham will go up by just $2 per credit hour, or about $24 per semester for a full time student. Full-time is defined as 12 credit hours per semester.
Tuition increases have wither been proposed or accepted at all seven of Oregon’s public four-year universities, adding anywhere from $475 a year to more than $700 per year to tuition costs.
Depending on the college, between one-third and half of Oregon community colleges’ funding comes from tuition, according to the state Higher Education Coordinating Commission. The rest comes from state appropriations and local property taxes.
From the 2019-20 school year to the 2020-21 school year, community college enrollments dropped by 23%. In 2021, enrollments were down about 1%, a sign that pandemic effects on enrollment might be waning. Overall, community colleges enroll 60,000 fewer students today than they did a decade ago – a 40% drop – as Oregon’s population has grown.
This article is courtesy of the Oregon Capital Chronicle