Tuition heads up at WWCC

The state has OK'd a hike to $4,000 a year for full-time students. Fees, however, are headed downward.

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WALLA WALLA -- Tuition is set to increase this fall at Walla Walla Community College and all other state community and technical colleges.

An average 12 percent hike in tuition was approved by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges May 10, as required by the state Legislature in its 2011-13 budget. The increase means full-time students will pay $4,000 a year in tuition, up from $3,542, or 13 percent more. Tuition for part-time students will increase by 11 percent.

The Legislature authorized the increase as a way to offset $110 million in cuts to the community and technical college system, said Laura McDowell, SBCTC director of communications, in an email. The tuition increase is expected to only partially make up for the budget cuts, she added.

Out-of-state or non-resident students will see tuition increase also, but by the same dollar amount as residents rather than a percentage. That means tuition for a full-time, non-resident student will go up by $458.

Walla Walla Community College students will get some financial relief next year by seeing no new fees, as well as a reduction to their comprehensive fee. A 12 percent cut in the fee will be gradually implemented starting in the winter quarter.

The WWCC Board of Trustees unanimously approved the fee reduction during its monthly meeting, held Wednesday at the college.

The comprehensive fee, which is $5 per credit up to 10 credits, will go down to $4.70 a credit during the winter quarter, and down to $4.40 by spring quarter for the 12 percent overall drop. The comprehensive fee covers the cost of graduation, identification cards, initial application and other student-focused costs.

WWCC President Steve VanAusdle said while community colleges have no control over tuition increases, they do have authority to create or reduce fees. He recommended the board approve the fee reduction to support students.

"Fees we do, at this point in time, have some say," he said. "This is one way we can reduce the cost of education for our students."

The board also approved to maintain a 71.6 percent tuition waiver for non-graded courses, which include EMT, first aid and Qwest.

Fall registration at WWCC starts Monday.

Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317.

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