District approves raising nonresident unit fee

Out of state tuition fees scheduled for summer semester hikes districtwide

By Rodney Woodson, Associate Editor

Every year the district Governing Board is required to determine the nonresident tuition fee for the upcoming academic year before the deadline of Feb. 1.

This year the board decided to increase the fee by an overall amount of $15 per unit, which will bring the total nonresident fee to $269 per unit beginning summer session 2015.

Students not from California must pay the normal $46 per unit, in addition to a nonresident tuition fee and a nonresident capital outlay fee per unit.

Currently the nonresident fee is $198 with the outlay fee standing at $10.

In the summer of 2015, the nonresident cost will be raised to $205 and the outlay fee will jump to $18.

The capital outlay fee is a cost charged to nonresidents for using college facilities.

State community colleges do not receive state apportioned general funding for enrolled out of state students as they do for resident Full-Time Equivalent Students (FTES).

One FTES is equivalent to one student enrolled in at least 15 semester units.

The Governing Board approved the change at its meeting on Jan. 28.

Once in effect this coming summer, the nonresident fee will see its largest increase in year-to-year changes since between 2006-07 and 2007-08 when it increased $17.

“We always try to try to advocate for a reasonable rate for our students,” district Director of International Education Aleksandar Ilich said.

“(In my experience), for international students, living expenses were more detrimental than tuition.”

A large part of Ilich’s job is traveling to different countries, talking to parents of perspective college students, trying to coerce them into attending a college in the district.

He said that compared to other avenues of higher education, study abroad programs to other countries or U.S. universities for example, the cost to study at the district is far less expensive.

The district configures the nonresident tuition fees based on the California Education Codes guidelines found in sections 76140-76143.

Fee schedules are made based on criteria including: per-unit statewide average expense of education, the district average price per unit expense for education and the average nonresident tuition cost of neighboring districts.

Fee amounts must fall between the permissible range of $180-$380. The amount set, however, cannot be greater than the average cost of neighboring districts.

Attending a California community college for residents is the least expensive in the country. In the district tuition is set at $46 per unit.

In comparison, community colleges in other states not only charge more in fees for resident scholars with some charging more than double the district’s upcoming fee increase.

At Cumberland County College in New Jersey the price for county residents is $110 per unit. If a student attends from outside of the county, the fee increases by $5. For out of state nonresident students, Cumberland College charges $440 per unit.

In Arizona, Coconino Community College’s tuition is $89 per unit for residents, charging $311 for out of state attendees. These fees can increase to up to $169 for residents and $369 for out of state students, depending on the chosen major.

At Alabama Southern Community College, its tuition is charged based on length of program. For example, a two-year degree costs around $10,000 while a one-year certificate costs students around $5,000. At $269 for 12 units, one student enrolled on a full-time status during a semester, a nonresident student would spend about $6,500 for one year. Over a two year span the number is about $13,000.

Although attending a two-year program at ASCC is about $3,000 less than nonresident tuition in the district, the nonresident cost is still appealing across the states, Executive Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services Eugene Huff said.

“We try to charge a fair rate so nonresident students are paying their fair share,” he said. “Out of state students come to us, not necessarily because we’re the cheapest. In state, we are the lowest in the nation and still a great value for out of state students.”

Former football player for the Comets, Theodore Spann traveled to CCC to play football for coach Alonzo Carter, following in the footsteps of cousin, and fellow New Jersey native, Ronald Butler.

Spann attested to the high cost of community college tuition in his home state as well as the lack of opportunity.

“There aren’t a lot of (junior colleges) on the East Coast,” he said. “My cousin Ronald (Butler) told me about the football program. (Initially) my time here was supposed to be a temporary visit — that’s basically how I got out here.”