State Board approves tuition increase

Published 10:49 am Friday, June 10, 2011

The Alabama State Board of Education approved a rate increase of $15 per credit hour for the state’s community colleges during a special meeting this week.

That means students attending LBW Community College, or any other two-year college in the state, will feel the impact starting this fall.

“Over the last four years, the Alabama Community College System suffered a 25.3 percent decrease in state funding totaling $240 million,” said LBWCC President Dr. Herb Riedel.

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“In fiscal year 2007-08, state support represented 47.8 percent of total revenues. This year, that percentage is 32.41.”

The decreased state funding happened as student enrollments and demand for educational services increased, presenting the need for many colleges to increase class sizes, expand course sections, and hire additional adjunct faculty.  At LBWCC, class sizes were increased, staffing levels decreased, and maintenance and equipment purchases deferred.

The tuition increase was the only way to continue to provide the programs and services that are absolutely essential for preparing our workforce and rebuilding our economy, he said.

With the State Board’s decision, tuition and fees will increase to $126 per credit hour at LBWCC, with the possibility of up to an additional $10 per credit hour for a special building fee approved by the State Board of Education last month.

“The building fee is intended to repay bond indebtedness, but LBWCC does not plan to implement the full building fee at this time,” said Riedel.  A decision on the building fee will be made by College administrators next week.

Tuition for a full-time student attending the fall and spring semesters will be a minimum of $3,024, depending on the number of credit hours taken.

“Of all new full-time students at LBWCC, 82 percent receive grant or scholarship aid from the federal or state government, the College, or private sources.  Our two college foundations are redoubling their efforts to assist students during these difficult financial times.”

Riedel pointed out that despite the fiscal restraints faced by the college, LBWCC continues to develop innovative programs and find ways to advance the College.

“We continue to be very conservative in our budgeting process. We are implementing the new Honors Program this fall. In addition, the Math Emporium, a program for student success in mathematics, will be fully implemented on all campuses this fall. With mostly private funding, we will also begin some campus enhancements on the Andalusia campus.”

LBWCC continues to offer the best value in education, he added.

“In these difficult economic times, people are looking for value in everything, including education. You cannot find a better value in the education system than LBWCC. Our tuition is still less than half of that for any state four-year institution. In most cases, students can continue living at home while attending school to avoid additional living expenses.”