Community college tuition increase of $2 per credit hour proposed for Alabama

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MONTGOMERY ? Tuition at Alabama?s community colleges would increase $2 to $117 per credit hour under a plan to be voted on the by the system board next month.

Current in-state tuition and other fees at Northwest Shoals Community College are $142 per credit hour. Tuition and other fees at Calhoun Community College are $144 per credit hour.

The community college system has had an annual $2 per-credit-hour increase since 2011. The recommended adjustment for fall 2016 will help offset the continued increase in operational costs, according to the system.

Northwest Shoals spokesman Trent Randolph said based on fall 2015 enrollment, the $2 increase would be worth about $67,400 at that college. That money would likely go toward deferred maintenance costs on aging buildings.

At least one Alabama Community College System board member thinks tuition is moving in the wrong direction.

?I want to reduce tuition,? Mary Scott Hunter of Huntsville said. She said many community college students are minimum- or low-wage earners and single parents. ?Those are the people we?re trying to help.?

The 2017 education budget making its way through the Statehouse includes a 5.15 percent, $14.2 million increase in operation and maintenance funding for the community college system.

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