Tuition going up at CMCC


AUGUSTA – For the second year in a row, tuition is going up this fall for Maine Community College System students.

On Wednesday, Maine Community College System trustees voted to increase tuition by $4 per credit hour, from $74 to $78 per credit hour for in-state students. The increase means full-time students will pay about $120 more in annual tuition next year, or $2,340.

Out-of-state tuition will also rise. Annual tuition for full-time out-of-state students will be $4,770 next year.

College administrators said they regretted raising tuition. Even a modest increase impacts students, said Joanna Jones, who chairs the board of trustees.

“State funding has simply not kept up with the rising cost of operating our colleges, and we are left with little choice,” she said. Without the tuition increase the system would face a $2.3 million shortfall.

Some staff reductions may be necessary even with the tuition hike, according to MCCS President John Fitzsimmons. Higher tuition will generate an additional $1.1 million, leaving a projected shortfall of $1.2 million.

Central Maine Community College President Scott Knapp said he prefers to keep tuition as low as possible, “but from 1997 to 2005, we had no tuition increase,” he said. “I don’t think any institution or any system in the country can say that. We had a tuition increase last year, but we’ve done our best to hold down the cost of education.”

If tuition does not go up, CMCC would have to reduce the number of students it accepts, “or reduce the quality of what we do,” Knapp said.

Statewide enrollment at the community colleges is up 42 percent in three years. Administrators said they’re hoping that legislators will give them more money before the session ends, to avoid cutting positions or programs.