Home Featured News Tuition increases for Fall 2011 semester as enrollment drops following record semester

Tuition increases for Fall 2011 semester as enrollment drops following record semester

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By Ross Pike
News Editor

Enrollment is down 1.8 percent, but tuition is up 6.8 percent for residents, non-resident tuition is up 6.95 percent. Out-of-state tuition has increased by 7.03 percent from the 2010 fall semester according to Bruce Morrison, GRCC data and reports coordinator, and the GRCC Cashier’s Office.

The new prices for GRCC students per credit hour are $95.50 for resident students, $209.50 for non-resident students, and $313.50 for out-of-state students. These rates were approved by the GRCC Board of Trustees in June.

Over the past five years, enrollment has fluctuated from 14,244 in Winter 2006 to 18,142 in Winter 2011, but tuition has continually been rising.

“Tuition goes up every year just like everything else does with this economy,” said Sally (declined the usage of her surname) of the GRCC Cashier’s Office. “The increase is usually about five to six dollars for resident students every year.”

Comparable to GRCC, tuition remains lower among other Michigan community colleges. Rates for Lansing Community College include residents paying $79 a credit hour, non-residents paying $178, and out-of-state students paying $237. Muskegon Community College has resident students paying $81.50, non-resident students $143, and out-of-state students with a rate of $196. Both Lansing Community College and Muskegon Community College have also experienced enrollment declines with 6.1 percent and 2.7 percent respectively.

Emily Cegelis, third year student, said, “I think that the tuition increase is a bit steep for one year, but expected with the state’s budget plan. The FACTS Payment Plan allows me to pay out of pocket and not have the student loans stack up. GRCC is affordable if you use a payment plan.”

The FACTS Payment Plan is a program that GRCC started in 2000 that has partnered the college with Nelnet, an outside firm, to allow students to break their tuition into two to three payments.

Although enrollment for the Fall 2011 semester was 17,601, only an estimated 2,100 students utilized the FACTS Payment Plan according to the Cashier’s Office.

“GRCC students primarily make use of this option because of pending financial aid,” said Sally. “By enrolling in the program students are able to save their place in classes to prevent being dropped from the class.”

“A common misconception about the payment plan is that the college runs cross-references to find out when students drop classes. Nelnet is not able to run those checks for confidentiality purposes,” said Sally. “It is the responsibility of the student to let the Cashier’s Office know when they drop a class.”

“The decrease in enrollment isn’t a drastic drop,” said Bruce Morrison. “Enrollment always fluctuates.”

According to the Fall 2011 Enrollment Report compiled by the GRCC institutional research and planning department, the largest increases of contact hours for the Arts and Sciences departments were the Psychology department with a .8 percent increase and English with a .5 percent increase. However, nine out of eleven departments saw decreases.

The largest growing department was Radiologic Technology with an increase of 7.1 percent in contact hours. Nursing followed with an increase of 2.2 percent.

Of enrollment, resident students comprise 75.5 percent, non-resident comprises 23.6 percent, and out-of-state students make up .9 percent.

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