VC Board of Trustees votes to raise tuition to help cover projected cuts in State funding

Victoria College’s Board of Trustees voted today to raise in-state tuition by $9 per semester credit hour and increase the out-of-district fee by $2 per semester credit hour. This action is in response to the State Legislature’s proposal to cut VC’s appropriations by 21 to 25 percent, which amounts to nearly $2 million per year over the next two years.

Tuition will be raised from $34 to $43 per semester credit hour this fall. The out-of-district fee, meant to achieve parity between Victoria County’s tax-paying residents and students who reside out of the county, will be raised from $45 to $47 per credit hour.

The increase in tuition and out-of-district fees is expected to generate $850,592 next year, which still does not fill the void that will be left by the State’s decrease in funding.

According to Keith Blundell, VC’s vice president of administrative services, Victoria College has not raised its tuition since 2008. “This is the first time in years that VC has had to raise tuition this much,” said Blundell. “Our last tuition increase was $2 per semester credit hour in fall 2008.”

“As the State continues to reduce its funding to VC, we have adjusted our operating budget accordingly,” said VC President Dr. Tom Butler. “State funding cuts for the last two years have been handled without tuition or tax increases.”

The college is preparing a budget for next year with even more reductions.

“Unfortunately, the magnitude of the cuts proposed by the Legislature for next year is so great that covering all of the reduced appropriation in this manner would mean laying off faculty and serving fewer students,” said Butler. “The continued shifting of the State’s responsibility for funding higher education to local communities ultimately places the burden on our students and on local taxpayers.”

“We are being forced to serve more students with less money,” said Butler. “While we regret having to place this burden on our students by raising tuition, the State has given us no choice.

The State’s 2011-2012 budget is not likely to be finalized until this summer. However, VC’s Board of Trustees had to decide on the tuition increase before fall registration begins in late April.

“This is the first time students will have the opportunity to register for fall classes while they’re still on campus in the spring,” said Butler. “The early registration period will give returning students ample time to meet with academic advisors and secure the classes they need while they’re still on campus.”

In the meantime, VC administrators are encouraging students to apply for financial aid and scholarships.

“We are certainly aware that students are facing economic issues,” said Butler. “While we have to make difficult decisions, VC is dedicated to offering our students the best value for a quality education.”

“For those who are unable to pay for college themselves, there are often ways to combine financial aid sources that will cover all or most of the costs of college,” added Butler.

“The proposed cut in State appropriations is a very grave issue for our community,” said Ron Walker, president of VC’s Board of Trustees. “The Board struggled with this decision knowing what an impact it will have on VC students. We take our responsibility to students and the community very seriously, and we remain committed to making VC as affordable as possible while maintaining the quality education our community deserves.”
Published: Thursday, 24 March 2011

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