This section will help you prepare for the costs of attending community college and any future increases. Explore pricing plans, learn where you may be able to attend community college tuition-free, and examine the latest initiatives to make higher education more affordable.
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We explore an innovative idea coming to Oregon community colleges that will allow students to attend school tuition-free, with an agreement to pay back the state with a portion of their income after graduation.
As federal lawmakers appear unable to make progress in the student debt crisis, state lawmakers in Oregon are moving ahead with a plan to make higher education more affordable and debt-free. The proposal, known as “Pay it Forward, Pay it Back,” is a unique approach to footing the climbing bill of postsecondary education today. The bill has been approved by the state legislature and is expected to be signed into law by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber later this month.
What is Pay it Forward, Pay it Back?
According to the website for the Oregon Working Families Party, this new piece of legislation, officially dubbed House Bill 3472, offers access to a higher education without the accumulation of large amounts of debt. Students attending public universities and community colleges would be able to do so without paying any tuition up front. After the student leaves the college or university and enters the workforce, these students would pay a percentage of their income directly to the state’s higher education funding.
Under the current proposal, students graduating from a four-year public school would pay 3 percent of their income. Those graduating from a community college would pay 1.5 percent of their income. Payments would be deducted directly from the individual’s payroll, much like social security taxes. The payments would increase or decrease according to the individual’s income amount, and would continue for a full 24 years.
Pay it Forward, Pay it Back was the brainchild of a group of students at Portland State University,
New developments in Arizona and Florida are forcing schools and lawmakers to examine the issue of tuition rates for students with parents who are in the U.S. illegally.
Arizona is fighting an immigration battle that has become more than a little murky in recent months. With undocumented immigrants now able to apply for deferred action to continue to work legally in the U.S., the question has naturally turned to the issue of in-state tuition. Recently, those immigrants were required to pay out-of-state tuition rates, even at the schools in the states where they lived and worked. However, the introduction of the deferred action program has some schools rethinking their tuition policies, and some actually changing the rules on what undocumented immigrants must pay to get a college education in the U.S.
New Action Plan Overridden by Arizona Governor
In August, shortly after President Obama’s new deferred action program was introduced, the governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, made her own announcement. Governor Brewer signed an executive order for her state that mandated state agencies were not to issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in Arizona, even if they received deferred action to work in the United States. The order also stated that these individuals were to be denied all public benefits by the state, according to a report at the Tucson Citizen.
“As the [DHS – Department of Homeland Security] has said repeatedly…these individuals do not have lawful status,” Matthew Benson, a spokesman for the governor’s office, told the Citizen. “They are able to remain in the country and not be deported and not be prosecuted, but they do not have lawful status.”
While Brewer’s order lists a number
A new policy by Santa Monica College will charge higher prices for in-demand classes – more than four times the standard tuition rate! Scholarships are already being set up for low-income students to help them pay for those classes.
Community colleges across the country have been faced with serious budget cuts that have forced them to make difficult decisions regarding the best ways to serve their students. In the case of Santa Monica College, a proposal to change the pricing structure of certain classes has been met with both applause and protest. Should community colleges be able to charge different prices for their more popular courses? Santa Monica is dealing with that issue right now.
Program Completion Delayed Due to Insufficient Course Offerings
According to a report at FOX News, Santa Monica College has been forced to reduce class offerings over the past three years, due to significant California budget cuts that have left the school, like others around the country, scrambling to find enough resources to adequately meet student need. Unfortunately, the practice of cutting classes has left many students in a serious bind. Students who were poised to complete degree programs or transfer to a four-year university have not been able to get the core classes they need to complete their requirements.
“Demand is huge across the board,” Bruce Smith, a spokesman for Santa Monica College, told FOX News. “The question is can we continue to keep cutting and cutting classes. It’s pretty devastating.”
Since budget woes began for community colleges in 2008, Santa Monica has been forced to cut 1,100 of its 7,430 classes. This means students are not able to schedule the courses they need to graduate in a timely fashion. In some
Hot on the heels of the Dream Act, many states are debating whether illegal immigrants should qualify for in-state tuition rates at community colleges. Learn about the current law, Supreme Court rulings, and what several states have to say.
As the immigration debate rages on, a new aspect of the controversy has come to the forefront: should illegal immigrants qualify for in-state tuition at state colleges? A federal law on the books prohibits the practice, but many states have overridden that law to allow those who have grown up in their public schools to move on to higher education after graduation. Others oppose the idea of allowing people who are in the country illegally – and as such, are disqualified from becoming a member of the workforce – to reap benefits not available to legal residents of the country. We will take a look at both sides of the debate, and how some states are deciding to handle the issue of illegal immigration in their own education systems.
What the Law Says
A federal law passed in 1996 prohibits illegal immigrants from paying in-state tuition at public institutions of higher education, according to an article at FinAid. The law reads:
"An alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a state for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an amount, duration and scope) without regard to whether the citizen or national is such a resident."
Since the federal law was passed, several states have passed state laws allowing in-state tuition to illegal immigrants residing in those states, if the student has attended high
While community colleges are a very affordable option over four-year universities, some campuses are increasing their tuition either across the board or for popular degree programs.
Many high school graduates find an affordable solution to expensive four-year universities by attending community colleges in their area instead. Professionals who require additional training or need to forge a new career path have also found community colleges to be an affordable solution to their career needs.
However, community college is becoming a little less affordable in some areas, with the current economic slowdown forcing many schools to hike up tuition rates in an effort to combat rising costs and decreased funding.
In Tucson, Arizona, Pima Community College is considering increases in tuition rates for some of their more popular programs. The school is facing financial shortfalls after having state appropriations cut by more than 30% over the past two years. Roy Flores, the college's chancellor, told Inside Higher Ed, "It looks like we'll have budget cuts for the foreseeable future…As we get squeezed from every corner, I'm concerned about the future of our occupational programs and our ability to respond to people who get laid off and need new skills to get back on their feet."
Instead of raising actual tuition rates, Pima is considering a premium charge of 10-30% on popular programs like nursing and avionics. The charge would be phased in slowly, rather than getting assessed in a single expensive bill. Flores does not believe the addition of a premium charge would price many students out of the opportunity to pursue a degree through Pima.