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ECC trustees vote to raise tuition for third year

Updated: February 25, 2013 12:36PM

ELGIN — The Elgin Community College District 509 Board of Trustees has unanimously approved a $4 tuition increase for the 2013-14 school year.

That will put tuition at ECC at $109 per credit hour starting this coming summer semester, according to the college.

This is the third straight year trustees have voted to raise tuition, although this year’s is a smaller bump. Last year, the increase was $6 per credit hour, and the year before $8 per hour, according to Vice President of Business and Finance Sharon Konny.

That comes after the cost had been frozen at $91 per credit hour for four years.

“This year, it’s funding current programs and current academic support, all geared to go into the operations fund,” Konny said.

That’s not because of any new programs or academic support the community college is offering, but “pretty significant increases” expected in what the college will pay for its employees’ health benefits, she said. Those costs have increased 5 or 6 percent some years and 12 to 13 percent in others, she said.

Altogether, about 70 percent of the community college’s budget goes for salary and benefits, she said.

The tuition increase will raise the average cost of a year at ECC by $120, from $3,150 to $3,270, according to the college. Two years at the college before transferring to a four-year public university still can save a student about $18,000, it said.

While many area community colleges have not yet voted on their tuition for next year, Konny said, the increased tuition still would put the Elgin school about in the middle of this year’s tuitions. And it is expected to generate another $750,000 to $800,000, the vice president said.

Previous increases had been necessary to fund operation and maintenance costs for new buildings brought on-line in the Elgin Community College Facilities Master Plan, the college has said. Last month, trustees unanimously approved several agreements to purchase and build its Public Safety and Sustainability Center in Burlington, the last of those master plan projects.

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