Letter to the Editor: MHCC Board of Education

Dear MHCC Students,

Welcome to MHCC! Everyone at the college is excited to have you here as part of our learning community and achieving your educational goals. We wish you the very best in the upcoming academic year.

The MHCC Board of Education recently approved two tuition adjustments that have a direct impact on you, and we feel it is very important to explain.

At a Board meeting held on April 8, 2015, after long and thoughtful discussion,  the MHCC Board approved a $3.50 per credit hour tuition increase, with one stipulation. If State of Oregon funding increased above $535 million for all community colleges, the additional amount received by MHCC would be dedicated to offset that tuition increase. At that time, MHCC and the Board did not know what our actual state funding amount would be, what our own ending fund balance would be, and what our enrollment for Fall and the rest of the 2015-16 adademic year would be. All of those figures changed substantially and caused the Board to reconsider the tuition rate.

Inadequate state funding, enrollment declines and mounting college operational costs forced the Board to make the difficult decision to increase tuition because it was critical for the long-term solvency of the college.

Every Board member, past and present, agrees that college affordability must be a top priority for our community. At the same time, the MHCC Board is tasked with fiscal responsibility and ensuring the long-term solvency of the college. Faced with very different financial circumstances, the Board met in a work session on September 3, 2015, and in a regular Board meeting on September 9, 2015. After long discussions, which involved direct feedback from student leaders, the Board approved two tuition adjustments:

1. To reduce the current tuition rate by $1.50 [putting it] $2 per credit hour above the previous year), and;

2. To create a tuition pledge: This new student benefit will freeze tuition upon enrollment and lock it in for up to four years. We want to ensure that college costs remain low and predictable in order to offer our students certainty when mapping out their college plans.

Taken together, these two adjustments will definitely reduce student costs and make college more affordable. We are sorry we are unable to roll the increase back completely.

Be assured that the MHCC Board will continue to work in the best interest of students and the community. We hope you will stand by our decision and support our efforts to move MHCC forward, into the next 50 years of success.

If you have questions or would like to respond, you may contact Board Chair, Susie Jones, at susie.jones@mhcc.edu.

MHCC Board of Education

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