The Blue Mountain Community College Board of Education on Wednesday night voted unanimously to not raise tuition for the 2019-2020 academic year to keep BMCC affordable.
This is the first time in 23 years the Board has not increased tuition.
Based on current state-level suggested funding, the Board is aware there is a $1.8 million gap between resources and expenditures at BMCC. A tuition increase of $1 per credit would only bring in approximately $50,000 in revenue for the college. Even a 5-percent increase would only generate $250,000, and the college would still need to utilize $1.5 million out of reserves.
The Board chose to use $1.8 million in reserves to address the gap, and will take the next year along with incoming president Dennis Bailey to restructure how BMCC delivers education at a cost students can afford.
The Board considered survey feedback from students, as well as recommendations from a campus-wide budget committee, before coming to a resolution. The Board discussed the past state commitment to provide approximately one-third of operating costs, with the other one-third from tuition and one-third from local taxes.
This shared responsibility has changed and the students are bearing the brunt of underfunding. Currently, BMCC receives 28 percent from state appropriations, 32 percent from property taxes, 5 percent from other resources, and draws the largest percentage (35 percent) from tuition. The Board believes it’s time for the state to adequately fund community college education.
Last year, while setting the 2018-19 level of tuition, the Board heard from students that it had reached the point that they had to choose between their education and their basic needs. This year, BMCC has the highest tuition and fees for all Oregon community colleges following a 12 percent increase over the past two academic years.