Traverse City Record-Eagle

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June 7, 2013

NMC students say they'll survive tuition hike

TRAVERSE CITY — Katie Rafferty tooled into Northwestern Michigan College classes several semesters ago to study auto repair.

“I was going downstate in the Grand Rapids area, but they were so much higher in tuition than NMC,” she said. “That’s why I chose to go to NMC.”

Now she may have to pay 32 percent more for her auto department courses, an increase of several hundred dollars a semester for a full load of classes.

But Rafferty, 24, isn’t deterred. Even at the proposed rate of $111.50 per credit hour plus fees, NMC is still cheaper than Grand Valley State University at $420 per credit hour. Kirtland and Alpena community colleges cost less than NMC’s proposed rate and fees.

Rafferty, who is seeking out scholarships, said she’ll stick with NMC because of its small classes.

“I can grab an instructor and they’re over within five minutes, if not right then. That’s what I like,” she said.

The NMC board will consider the nearly 32 percent tuition hike for the nursing, automotive, and audio-tech programs this month.

Culinary students also will see an increase to $135.65 per credit hour, but in-district students will no longer have to pay course fees. The price for a culinary education widely varies statewide from $71.40 per tuition hour at Oakland Community College to $345 per quarter credit at Baker College.

Wayne Moody, director of NMC’s auto department, said his students will still get a “big bang for their buck.” The department offers small class sizes and top-notch equipment, necessitating subsidies from the general fund of $318,935 in the past three years.

Mike Bouchey, 31, said he will “absolutely” have to make up the higher costs with student loans. He attends college full-time and works full-time as a welder to support a family of four.

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