Home GRCC Board of Trustees GRCC Board of Trustees makes financial changes, including a 1.7% tuition increase

GRCC Board of Trustees makes financial changes, including a 1.7% tuition increase

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Usually bustling with students, GRCC campus has been quite all week as distance learning began amid the growing global pandemic of COVID-19 (Hayley Babbitt/The Collegiate).

The Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees passed a tuition increase of 1.7% when members met virtually April 20. 

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously in favor of a tuition increase for both resident and non-resident students, effective in the fall of 2020.

“We are looking at a $2 increase for our resident students, which is 1.7%, so it’s another year we are able to bring a proposed increase in that is below 2%, so we’re very pleased with that,” said Lisa Freiburger, the vice president for finance and administration at GRCC.

Specifically, the board approved a $2 per contact hour increase, with resident students paying $117 per credit hour and non-resident students paying $247 per credit hour. Out-of-state students would see a $6 increase, bringing them to $371 per credit hour. The differential tuition also has an increase coming. The rate for resident and non-resident students in specialized programs such as culinary and dental is going up by $3, and by $9 for out-of-state students in those programs. 

Tuition rates will be the only cost changes for those attending GRCC, though, as GRCC’s various universal fees will stay at the rates students paid for the 2019- 2020 school year. Recently, GRCC administrators announced the college is waiving all fees for students enrolling in summer classes to ease the economic challenge brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. 

According to a press release, the total tuition cost for a full-time student taking 15 credit hours will be $3,969 for the 2020-21 fall and winter semesters combined. 

Freiburger also announced that the federal government made a $150 increase in the maximum PELL grant.

“The anticipated PELL grant award is $6,345 for students that are fully PELL eligible,” Freiburger said. 

Another decision the Board made during the meeting was to continue the construction process for the Applied Technology Center. Specifically, they voted to go ahead with the “capital outlay process” that allows the school to get funding from the state through the use of bonds for the construction.

Board members expressed concern about the lower-than-average enrollment rates for the upcoming semester, and what that may mean for GRCC’s wallet. 

In recent months GRCC has experienced “some declines in revenue related to both tuition in the general fund and to customized training and training solutions revenue in our designated fund,” Freiburger said. “Those are both very directly related to what we’re facing now.” 

Freiburger said GRCC is also bracing for possible cut-backs in state funding.

“The state is facing a fairly significant deficit… which may translate into some sort of revenue reduction for us, both this year and next year,” Freiburger said. 

It’s difficult for anyone to make long-term financial predictions at the moment due to instability caused by COVID-19, but Freiburger told the board that even in the “worst case” financial scenario, the school should have enough reserves to continue operating. 

Freiburger said in an interview that the school practiced “fiscal responsibility and stability going into this,” which contributed to the school’s reserve funding that will help GRCC avoid impacting students’ education. 

“We have no plans to impact student instruction,” Freiburger said. “We have the ability to make reductions away from the classroom.”

GRCC is and will be making continual reassessments of the financial situation as events related to COVID-19 unfold. 

“We are on top of everything we can be on top of,” Freiburger said.

“Students need to know that they are not in this alone,” GRCC Director of Communications Dave Murray said. 

Students can visit this site for information about assistance with food, housing, and other needs through GRCC.