Home Featured News GRCC students react to 1.7% tuition increase

GRCC students react to 1.7% tuition increase

Board of Trustees Meeting

By Lyric Belle  

On March 20, the Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees approved a 1.7 % tuition increase.

Lisa Freiburger, GRCC’s Vice President for Finance presented this increase to the board saying, “We are recommending a 1.7 percent tuition increase that, for our resident student, would move our current rate of $118 per contact hour to a proposed rate of $120 per contact hour, a $2 increase… moving our non-resident up $4 which is a 1.6 percent increase and our out of state rate up $6.”

The notion was unanimously approved by all the board members, but board member Kenyatta Brame wanted to assure students that the increase isn’t as bad as it seems.

“College is becoming unaffordable to many individuals, particularly the four year schools… The fact that this organization was able to do that hard work and keep these increases to low, single digit increases is significant,” said Brame.

While the GRCC Board approved the tuition increase at a public meeting that was live streamed, many students said they were unaware that the board was set to vote on raising the cost of a GRCC education. In the 2021-22 school year the average national rate for tuition increases annually was 8% making GRCC’s 1.7% is comparatively low.

The Collegiate set out to find out what GRCC students felt about the tuition increase and how it would affect them.

For many students, the slight  increase makes a big difference. Albert Pate, 18, a mechanical engineering major from Cedar Springs, feels for students who have long commutes to campus.

“I’m worried about the non-residents because they need to pay for gas and parking, too,” Pate said.

For Melody Bai, 19, an exchange student from China, even a slight increase will have an impact on her family’s finances.

We are international students and we can’t have a job here,” Bai said. “My parents are paying all of that and it’s a heavy stress for them.” 

When asked about this raise in tuition, Ashley Stevens, 18, of Sparta, said, “It’s kinda dumb. I’m already paying a lot monthly… As a science major I’m required to take classes with more credits. Financially, I’m already working more than I’d like to.”

Spencer Caldwell, 25, originally from New York, said he was not happy to hear about the increase.

I think that’s ridiculous,” Caldwell said “…with prices going up as they are already I can’t imagine that a 1.7% increase is warranted.” 

Since the 2016-17 term resident student tuition has increased by $7. 

Another thing to consider, when discussing these tuition increases, is how it will affect future registration. Hanny Izquierdo, 20, of Grand Rapids, said the increase may lead her to transfer sooner.

 “I was thinking about transferring next fall,” Izquierdo said. “…I was planning on transferring to U of M, and they have the ‘Go Blue Guarantee,’ so I think I might transfer… I think it’ll definitely be me trying to transfer out sooner. I don’t want to pay more.”

The tuition increase is leading Ashley Stevens, 18, of Grand Rapids, to reconsider her class load going forward.

“I planned to take two classes in the summer and four this fall,” Stevens said, adding, “I might have to get a second job.”

The next board meeting will be held on Monday, May 15 at 4:15 p.m. on the fifth floor of RJF.

Collegiate reporters contributed to this story including Kevin Lopez, Sydney Bolt, Kenzie Davis, Annabelle Guysi, Brandon Smith, and Jaykob Smith.


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