The Southwestern Illinois College Board of Trustees voted to table a proposal Wednesday that could increase tuition by $10 a credit hour.
School leaders said they're concerned the move, which would set the price of attending the college at $109 a credit hour, could be too steep of an increase for students to swallow.
"I'm concerned that what we need to do is not go that high," Board President Nick Mance said. "We need to look at other things we can to make up our projected budget shortfall."
Board Member Harry Briggs agreed.
"We need to look into what we can do to decrease expenditures" before the amount of a potential increase is set," Briggs said. "Affordability is important to the people who attend this college."
SWIC last raised its tuition to $99 a credit hour two years ago. School President Georgia Costello said at the time the increase was needed to keep the college eligible for $8 million in state grant money. The money is contingent on tuition being at least 85 percent of the average tuition cost of Illinois community colleges.
This time the proposed increase would make up for lost revenue due to state budget cuts, SWIC spokesman Mike Fleming said. It would also help to pay for an increase in personnel costs from the implementation of the federal Affordable Care act.
Mance asked workers in the college's finance office to prepare a report as quickly as possible detailing areas where cuts could be made. He said he hoped a special meeting could take place before next regular board meeting in a month.
The proposed increase would take effect during the rapidly approaching summer semester. That puts board members in a bind to make a decision before registration begins. But Mance said it was more important to make a correct decision than it is to make a quick one.
"Nobody on this board wants to raise anything we don't have to," Mance said.
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