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Maine Community College System--News Release

COMMUNITY COLLEGE TRUSTEES APPROVE TUITION INCREASE

Program and staff reductions coming as well, says Fitzsimmons

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, April 27, 2005

CONTACT: Alice Kirkpatrick
207-767-0116 x 3 (Wed: 232-7177)
Email: akirkpatrick@mccs.me.edu

AUGUSTA, Maine – Aiming to reduce program cuts and layoffs to avert a $3.2 million shortfall next year, the Maine Community College System Board of Trustees voted today to increase tuition from $68 to $74 per credit hour.  The increase means full-time students will pay an average of $180 more in tuition, or $2,220, this coming academic year.

The increase follows six years of a tuition freeze that has brought Maine’s rate within $326 of the national average, based on data from The College Board’s 2004-05 survey of states.

"We have made tremendous progress in lowering the bar of college affordability in Maine over the past six years," said Joanna Jones, Chair of the Board. "Despite that progress, knowing that we serve a student body that faces financial challenges every day, this increase is a very difficult decision," she said.

MCCS President John Fitzsimmons said that some program and staff reductions will be necessary, even with the tuition increase. The budgets of the seven community colleges will be finalized over the next month, with final decisions on programs and staff expected by mid-May. Up to 35 positions could be impacted, including administrators, faculty and staff, said Fitzsimmons.

In the past three years, State appropriations to the MCCS rose by a net 3.1 percent, while enrollment has surged by 58 percent – for an additional 3,700 college students. In the biennial budget passed last month by the Legislature, the MCCS is pegged to receive a 2.58 percent increase – for a total of $42,542,033 – in fiscal year 2006. The System requested six percent.

"We appreciate the Governor and Legislature finding some relief for us, but our rapid enrollment growth, combined with big cost increases in health care, retirement, fuel, and other areas, leaves us with no choice but to raise tuition and make unpalatable cuts," said Fitzsimmons.

In other action, Trustees approved a request from Central Maine Community College to discontinue diploma options in electromechanical technology, graphic arts and printing, and machine tool technology (these programs will continue offering the associate degree option). CMCC was also granted approval to add a one-year certificate in medical coding.

Trustees also approved their meeting and events schedule for 2005-06.

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