The Cost of Higher Education

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Students at Blinn College will be paying a little more starting in the fall semester. During Tuesday night's board meeting, trustees approved a $5 increase per semester credit hour at all of its campuses.

Barbara Pearson is the Vice President of Blinn College-Bryan campus and says the tuition raise will help the college continue providing access to higher learning.

"We're trying to maintain the quality of education that Blinn has offered for so many years," Pearson said.

With the increase, Blinn students will be paying $92 per semester credit hour. Pearson says raising the tuition is necessary because the college does not have a tax base to rely on. She says the extra money will be used to upgrade technology, make repairs and add new faculty.

Dan Parker, who is Texas A&M's Associate Executive Vice President and Provost, echoes Pearson's assertions.

"The largest cost is personnel and if we're going to remain competitive amongst universities, we've got to give a salary increase," Parker said.

Parker says A&M is in the process of adding 450 new faculty members, and that the cost of the budget is well over $40 million.

Unlike Blinn College, A&M is still waiting on the state legislature to determine how much money will be given to state universities. When that decision comes sometime in May, A&M can set a tuition increase that is not expected to exceed $20.

"For every dollar we get in appropriated funds, that's a dollar that we don't have to charge in tuition," Parker said.

A&M freshman Ashley Richardson says she is going to feel the pinch if the university decides to increase tuition rates.

"That means we have to get more and more loans, so when I graduate I'm going to be in a lot of debt trying to pay those back," Richardson said.

Fellow freshman Jessica Johnson says a rise in tuition will force her to look for extra money to pay for school.

"I'm already maxed out in my loans and I've pulled as much as I can and I have to pay for it myself," Johnson said.

Officials at A&M and Blinn say they are working to keep tuition costs down, but not at the expense of academic quality. They say they must effectively complete their mission: "to provide education, training for students," Pearson said.