Rising tuition offsets state budget cuts

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 17, 2000

In anticipation of state budget cuts, Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Board of Trustees has approved a tuition increase and will also ask area counties for greater tax millage appropriations.

Tuition at both the Natchez and Wesson campuses will increase from $500 to $600, effective fall 2001.

Part-time tuition will increase from $60 to $75 per semester credit hour.

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&uot;Although we do not want to increase tuition, this is one of the few areas where the college has any control over revenue,&uot; said Co-Lin President Dr. Howell Garner.

&uot;We’ve always been so reluctant to raise tuition because we want to keep it affordable,&uot; Natchez campus Dean Dr. Ronnie Nettles said.

The tuition increases are expected to net about $380,000.

The Legislative Budget Office has recommended cuts in the neighborhood of $1.4 million for Co-Lin, Nettles said.

Garner has sent letters to the counties in Co-Lin’s district – including Adams – asking them to consider raising next year’s millage appropriation to the maximum 3 mills.

That millage limit applies to the maintenance fund to which counties contribute. Counties also contribute to an improvement fund. The maximum contribution for both funds is 6 mills.

Adams County contributes 2.19 mills to the maintenance fund and 1.84 mills to the improvement fund, which Nettles called &uot;a significant contribution.&uot;

&uot;What we’re doing is asking the county to see if there’s some additional help they could give us,&uot; he said.

Raising the maintenance fund to the maximum 3 mills would give the college an additional $107,000 from Adams County and $355,000 overall, said Natalie Davis, director of public relations at Co-Lin in Wesson.

In addition to raising tuition and seeking more funds from counties, Co-Lin is raising dormitory fees and has frozen faculty and staff positions. The college has also reduced supply and travel spending. Garner said salary reductions and staff layoffs are not part of the plan to save money.

&uot;What we don’t want to do is in any way compromise our service to students or compromise their education or the services we offer to the community,&uot; Nettles said.

Nettles and Garner said the higher education budget cuts will affect operations, not capital improvements. So Nettles expects Alcorn State University to continue its push for funding of an estimated $10 million fine arts center on the Natchez campus of both schools. The schools will share ownership and operation of the center, for which Co-Lin acquired the land last week.