Nonresident tuition rate jumps to $237 per unit

Student fee increases amid district policy approval

By Asma Alkrizy, Opinion Editor

Nonresident tuition fees have soared over the past few years, making it challenging for the growing number of nonresidents enrolling at Contra Costa College.  

The District Office has approved increasing the nonresident tuition rate  for the 2016-17 academic year, raising it 6.3 percent over the current nonresident tuition fee.

“The nonresident tuition increase will not take effect until summer 2016,” Admissions and Records Director Catherine Frost said.

Frost said the current rate for nonresident tuition is $223 per unit which does not include the enrollment fee.  The tuition rate effective with the 2016-17 year adjustments will be $237 per unit.

Beginning summer 2016, nonresidents must pay $211 per semester unit and $26 for the nonresident capital outlay fee, accumulating to the $237 rate per unit for classes.

They also have to pay an additional $46 per semester unit enrollment fee, which adds up to $283 per unit.

District Chief Financial Officer Jonah Nicholas said the tuition increase was approved by the Governing Board in January.

He said every year the California  Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office requires a community college district to bring to their respective Governing Board a proposal to establish a nonresident student fee.

It is incumbent on each district board to establish a nonresidential student fee before the February deadline.

The California Education Code demands that a community college district have the authority to charge a tuition fee for nonresident students.

In many colleges and universities, out-of-state students always pay nonresident fees much more than residents.

While state taxes contribute to the cost of a resident’s tuition fees, nonresidents are obliged to pay more tuition fees because they don’t pay taxes to help support their educational expenses.

Some may deem the supplemental money paid by nonresidents as unfair to the amount of money a resident student pays for enrollment. Others, however, consider that nonresidents are entitled to pay a higher tuition rate.

“The rate is fair and reasonable relative to other districts,” Contra Costa Community College District Executive Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services Eugene Huff said. “It is believed the increase will not change enrollment.”

The California Education Code offers the nonresident tuition fee, a fund created to accommodate the growing number of nonresident students and meet the expenses of their enrollment.

However, a nonresident student can qualify for exemption and avoid paying the high nonresident tuition. Nonresidents are exempt from the tuition charges if they have attended high school for three or more years or earned a high school diploma.

 They have to fill out an affidavit before enrolling at an institution, which proves their high school attendance or the accuracy of the information.

Aside from nonresidential student fees, the District Office charges nonresidents a capital outlay fee for using the college’s resources in addition to the unit enrollment fee.

 In prior years, the capital outlay fee was charged solely to foreign nonresident students, including only domestic nonresidents in the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 amendment.

Then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger added an exemption to  the bill in the section for nonresidents meeting the exemption eligibility.   

However, the nonresident tuition rate commencing in the summer of 2016 shows nonresidential tuition has been increasing over the past year. 

 “Overall the rate per unit went from $223 to $237,” Nicholas said, indicating how the nonresidential tuition will increase after the 2015-16 year.

Currently, the combined nonresidential fee per unit for all out-of-state students is $223 nonresident fee per unit that began in summer 2014.

During this spring semester, the Governing Board charges nonresidents $205 for tuition per unit with an $18 nonresidential student capital outlay fee per unit. The mandatory enrollment fee of $46 brings the fee to $269 per unit.

Now, for the coming semester, the nonresident tuition fee per unit has increased to $205 and nonresident student capital outlay fee per unit to $26.

The year-to-year changes for the nonresident tuition designates the rate will continue to increase in the succeeding years. 

In 2014-15 the nonresident tuition was $198 with the capital outlay fee at $10 and in year 2012-13 the nonresident tuition was $195 with the capital outlay fee standing at $7.

In years 2009-10 the nonresident tuition rate was $184 and the capital outlay fee  was at $4.

For 2003-04, 12 years ago, the district’s nonresident tuition fees or nonresidents was $145 per unit with the capital outlay at $15 per unit, almost half of what it will be this summer.