Tuition pledge keeping costs down for dedicated students

As readers of last week’s issue of the Advocate may know, things aren’t looking so great fiscally for MHCC and Oregon’s state colleges in 2017.

With the Oregon Promise possibly on the chopping block and Mt. Hood tossing around the idea of significant tuition increases again this spring, MHCC students are tightening their already overstretched belts and counting the few pennies they have closely.

Which is why John Hamblin’s most recent email, sent to current students, was a breath of fresh air.

Its subject? Mt. Hood’s 2015 tuition pledge.

Hamblin, the executive dean of student development, reminded students about the MHCC Board of Education vote to enact a “tuition pledge program” in September 2015.

The “pledge” program maintains the 2015-16 tuition rate of $94 per credit hour, for up to four years, for those students who initially enrolled at Mt. Hood in 2015-16, have stayed enrolled and have maintained certain criteria.

Tuition rates have since been raised, but “…a student’s tuition will be frozen for a period up to four years if the above eligibility requirements are maintained,” according to the MHCC website.

The reminder is excellent news for any students who find the costs of college difficult to manage as it is, without factoring in a tuition increase.

The eligibility rules include “meeting standards of academic progress” or maintaining a 2.0 GPA; enrolling for at least one course each term, at least three out of four terms in each consecutive academic year; and having an approved Education Plan.

Students unfamiliar with an Education Plan should visit the Student Services office at MHCC. They should meet with an academic adviser and planning over the next few school terms what their course load is going to look like.

While the Education Plan helps students qualify for the Tuition Pledge savings, it’s definitely recommended regardless of their objectives: Education Plans help them get a handle on stress, ensure they can plan accordingly, and keep them updated on graduation requirements so they don’t find themselves suddenly three credits shy of a degree.

Students who started attending Mt. Hood after the pledge’s enactment can still qualify for the pledge, Hamblin’s email explained.

The freeze begins the first term a student registers, and their tuition will be locked in at the current rate, with their four-year completion period beginning at that time. But it’s essential they pin down their own Education Plan.

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