CCAC tuition set to increase again

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Tuition for Community College of Allegheny County students will increase 5 percent next school year as part of the $109.6 million budget approved Thursday by the college's board of trustees.

Amy Kuntz, the board chairwoman, said the $5 per-credit-hour hike, expected to bring in an additional $2.1 million during the 2014-15 fiscal year, reflects the college's rising costs amid largely flat state and county funding over the past few years, though the county's contribution for the coming year of $464,809 constitutes a 2 percent increase.

The 2014-15 budget is about $2.9 million less than the spending plan approved last year and also includes increases in technology and lab fees, intended to reflect the "true cost" of taking the classes, Ms. Kuntz said, and bring in an additional $1 million.

The college, which had 54,116 credit and non-credit students this year, is still attempting to fully close what was initially a $6.7 million revenue shortfall this year. That gap, partly the result of a decline in enrollment since an all-time peak of 33,031 credit students in 2010-11, has narrowed to about $1.5 million as a result of across-the-board spending cuts, college officials said.

About $2 million in savings is expected next year as a result of a retirement-incentive program.

For students from Allegheny County, tuition will go from $99.75 per credit hour to $104.75, meaning a student taking 15 credits a semester would pay $1,571.25, up from $1,496.25 the year before. That price doubles for students from outside the county.

It's the fourth time the college has raised tuition since the 2010-11 school year, when in-county tuition was $85.25 per credit hour.

CCAC's tuition and fees remain in line with or lower than many other community colleges in the state, Ms. Kuntz said, adding that regular, incremental tuition increases are easier for students to weather than sudden spikes.

According to a comparison of the state's 14 community colleges by the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges, CCAC's 2013-14 in-county tuition prices were lower than all but Butler County Community College, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Northampton Community College and Westmoreland County Community College.


Robert Zullo: rzullo@post-gazette.com, 412-263-3909 or on Twitter @rczullo.

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