° empty

Cost of tuition rising at Co-Lin Natchez

JAY SOWERS / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Jonterial Johnson takes notes during her Anatomy and Physiology classes at the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Natchez campus on Monday afternoon.
JAY SOWERS / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Jonterial Johnson takes notes during her Anatomy and Physiology classes at the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Natchez campus on Monday afternoon.

NATCHEZ — Local college students may need to save a few extra dollars this summer to cover the cost of rising tuition.

Copiah-Lincoln Community College, along with several other universities and colleges in the state, is raising tuition for the coming school year.

Tuition at Co-Lin, which has a campus in Natchez, is going up 10.6 percent to $2,350 a year.

JAY SOWERS / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Kate Ellard takes notes during her Anatomy and Physiology classes at the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Natchez campus on Monday afternoon.
JAY SOWERS / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Kate Ellard takes notes during her Anatomy and Physiology classes at the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Natchez campus on Monday afternoon.

Co-Lin President Ronnie Nettles said tuition at the college has not been raised in four years.

“As you know, it’s been a very difficult four or five years, and we resisted raising tuition,” he said.

Enrollment numbers are on their way down, Nettles said, which impacts tuition.

“When your enrollment is going down, your funding is going down as well,” he said.

Unlike at larger four-year universities, Nettles said, Co-Lin rarely raises tuition.

“Relative to the universities, community college tuition is way below,” Nettles said. “Our mission is accessibility, so we’re very mindful of keeping costs low for students and controlling our expenses.”

Compared to other community colleges in the state, Nettles said Co-Lin’s tuition is more affordable for students. For example, he said, Gulf Coast Community College did not raise its tuition this year, but is still more expensive than Co-Lin’s at $2,472.

But a few Co-Lin students are still concerned about the hike in tuition.

Pre-nursing student Lacretia Smith, 31, who is also an elementary school teacher in Fayette, said she is worried about the tuition increase because she is not eligible for financial aid.

“I pay out of pocket, and next year will be my last year to teach because I will be going for my nursing degree, so I will have to try to work part-time at least,” Smith said.

Cathedral teacher and Co-Lin student Kate Ellard, 25, said she is hoping to get financial aid in the fall to offset the tuition increase.

“I have a house note and insurance, and there’s no way my parents can help me, so hopefully I can get financial aid,” she said.

Ellard, who already has a bachelor’s from Mississippi State University, is attending Co-Lin for pre-requisite classes she needs for her master’s degree.

Jonterial Johnson, 20, is also hoping to get financial aid in the fall to help with her tuition.

“But it’s not for sure,” she said.

Johnson said she would likely have to ask her parents for help.

“I’m nervous about it; I don’t know how that is going to go,” she said.