The Southwest Illinois College Board of Trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to raise tuition by $4 a credit hour effective for the upcoming summer semester.
The board made the decision, which will make the cost of taking classes at the Belleville-based school $103 per credit hour, without any discussion.
"While this tuition income will help, we have to continue to tighten our belts and identify new revenue streams without compromising the quality of instruction," SWIC President Georgia Costello said.
The SWIC Board last month tabled a proposal to raise tuition $10 a credit hour. Board Chairman Nick Mance said at that time, while he realized the cost of doing business has gone up, he was concerned about pricing the school out of the budget of the people who depend on it for an education. He -- and several trustees -- asked financial officers to comb over the budget and try to find ways to cut back before the hike would be reconsidered.
SWIC last raised its tuition to $99 a credit hour two years ago.
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.
According to district leaders, the state of Illinois is currently behind on $7.6 million owed to SWIC for tuition reimbursement and equalization payments. The Illinois Community College Board estimates that the state will cut its budget for community colleges by 4.62 percent in 2014, 5.7 percent in 2015 and up to 13.6 percent in 2016. Fleming said that would cost SWIC more than $3 million over the next three years.
With a $5 per hour fee included per credit hour for SWIC students, that makes the total cost of taking courses there at $108 an hour. Statewide, the average community college cost per hour of credit is $112.87. But that figure is expected to increase, Fleming said, as the state's other community colleges set their rates for next school year.
In other business Wednesday:
* A three-year contract was reached with college adjunct faculty that calls for a pay freeze the first year of the deal, a 2.75 percent pay increase the second year and a 3 percent raise the third.
According to SWIC attorney Garrett Hoerner, is currently about $48 an hour.
* Cliff Davis, of Belleville, was sworn is as the board's new student trustee.
The meeting was held for the first time in SWIC's new Liberal Arts Building. Costello said the new meeting room is about twice as large as the old one and by holding the Board of Trustees meetings there it will help to showcase the new building to the public.
Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at email@example.com or call 239-2626.