Traverse City Record-Eagle


June 26, 2014

Editorial: NMC officials must justify bigger increase in tuition

So which is it, 3 percent or 5 to 7 percent? Just how much does Northwestern Michigan College really need to hike tuition (plus a 3 percent hike in student fees) to make the budget balance while offering students the best deal possible?

Prior to Monday night, the college had been asking NMC’s Board of Trustees to approve a 3 percent tuition hike for in-stateresidents.

But Monday, the budget approved 5-2 by the board included increases of 5 percent for in-state students and 7 percent for non-Michigan students.

The reason for the change, according to Vicki Cook, the college’s vice president of finance and administration, didn’t have anything to do with changes in the budget or a last-minute need for more revenue.

It was simply because a 3-percent cap on tuition increases proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder no longer was included in state budgets.

Cook said previous proposed budgets included a $300,000 deficit that officials planned to close using the college’s fund balance. The bigger tuition hikes erased that deficit.

That’s no way to set the amount that students, most of whom work while taking classes on a part-time basis, will have to fork over next year. For them, every dollar counts and the difference between a 3 percent hike and a 5 percent one is not just a number. It’s more hours at work and less money to spend on their family or themselves.

They don’t have the luxury of a fund balance to dip into to erase what is, in the college’s $43 million spending plan, a 0.007 percent charge.

Of every budget item the college deals with, tuition hikes should get the maximum attention and be the last resort as a way to raise revenues. Making a last-minute hike in what students will pay just because they can is no way for the college to do business.

Text Only

Opinion Poll
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN