Freeport, Illinois — The Highland Community College Board of Trustees approved a $12 per credit hour tuition increase during their March 21 meeting. The approval follows a first and second reading of the proposal by the Board during the February monthly meeting and March quarterly retreat, respectively. The new rate will take effect for the Fall 2017 semester.
“In any fiscal year, the recommendation for a tuition rate increase takes into account affordability for students, Highland’s comparability to other colleges’ per credit hour tuition and fee rates, and Highland’s projected budget,” said Vice President of Administrative Services Jill Janssen.
The tuition increase is a direct result of the state of Illinois budget stalemate, according to Janssen. In each of the last two fiscal years, Highland has received more than $1 million less in state funding than was received in fiscal year 2015 and there is currently no definitive information about the state’s fiscal year 2018 budget.
“Our main sources of revenue in the operating funds are student tuition and fees, and local property taxes,” said Janssen. “State funding is no longer a main source of revenue, as it has been since the inception of the Illinois Community College System. In fact, state funding is expected to be only five percent of overall funding for the current fiscal year.”
According to Highland officials, the College has taken steps to reduce expenses over the past two fiscal years, such as limiting expenses to those that are deemed essential, reducing staffing, reducing employee benefits, and negotiating savings with vendors.
In other news, trustees approved the following:
- the rescheduling of the April 2017 Board of Trustees meeting to April 24
- part-time instructors, overload, and other assignments
- CollegeNOW agreements between Highland Community College and Dakota High School, Durand School District #322, Forreston High School, Orangeville High School, and, Pecatonica School District #321
- a new Workplace Service certificate
- the first reading of a new Sexual Misconduct and Violence Policy
- the National Intercollegiate Mutual Aid Agreement
- the appointment of Jim Phillips as Dean, Humanities Social Sciences, and Fine Arts. Phillips has served as Dean, Humanities Social Sciences, and Fine Arts since May 2016.
- proposed course fee changes/additions for Fall 2017
- a resolution to expand the Northwest Illinois Enterprise Zone (aka Freeport/Stephenson Enterprise Zone) and abate property taxes for the Rose Ridge Housing Development
- the appointment of the auditor for fiscal year 2017
The next regular meeting of the HCC Board of Trustees will be held on Monday, April 24, 2017, at 4:00 p.m. in the Robert J. Rimington Board room in the Student/Conference Center. The next quarterly board retreat is scheduled for Wednesday, June 7, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. in room H-206 in the Student/Conference Center.