Tuition increase at Maine’s community colleges to be voted on by trustees Wednesday

Posted May 27, 2014, at 8:18 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Community College System’s board of trustees will vote whether to raise tuition by two percent on Wednesday.

The tuition raise, a recommendation by system President John Fitzsimmons, would increase tuition from $88 dollars per credit hour to $90 dollars a credit, amounting to an increase of $60 a year for a full-time student, according to Helen Pelletier, the system’s director of communications.

If approved, the tuition rate would be $2,700 a year for a full-time student.

“We’re working hard to make sure there are no deficits for next year, and that’s one of the reasons why a tuition increase is on the table,” she said.

Rising costs in health care, energy and retirement, paired with flat funding from the state and the end of a period of enrollment growth have precipitated the need for an increase in the tuition rate, she said.

“We’ve been through a number of really tough budget years,” Pelletier said. “Our enrollments grew dramatically over the last decade. Now enrollments are starting to level off.”

On Friday, Northern Maine Community College announced four faculty positions would be cut to help offset a $470,000 budget deficit.

Kennebec Valley Community College cut two faculty positions due to a $435,00 budget shortfall, though one of those individuals moved into an administrative job at the college, according to Pelletier. KVCC is leaving seven vacant administrative positions unfilled.

Southern Maine Community College has eliminated three programs in part because of a $350,000 budget gap, Pelletier said.

The trustees will meet at 12:30 Wednesday at the MCCS offices at 323 State St. in Augusta.