The Blinn College Board of Trustees approved a $3 general fee and a $3 tuition increase at its regular meeting Tuesday night, effective Fall 2013, to offset the costs of technology improvements and maintain employee retirement benefits.
Blinn, which boasts one of the lowest community college tax rates in the state, at 5.67 cents per $100 valuation, expects the climb in the general fees and tuition to generate approximately $2 million overall, split equally between tuition and fees.
Blinn is increasing its fees and tuition at a time when state reimbursement for contact hours has dropped from $3.23 per contact hour in 2008 to the current rate of $2.65. Blinn’s current in-district tuition (paid by Washington County residents) and fees rank 24th lowest out of 50 community college districts across the state, while its out-of-district costs (paid by students living outside Washington County) rank 17th. In-district Blinn students currently pay less than the state average in tuition and fees.
Senior Vice President/CFO Kelli Shomaker said at least one community college in the state is considering a $13 tuition increase to combat rising costs and decreased state funding. Blinn’s current $912 cost for in-district resident and $1,476 cost for out-of-district students remains an affordable for option for students looking to save two-thirds or more on the cost of tuition and fees at most four-year schools in Texas.
Proceeds from the general fee increase will go toward classroom technology enhancements. Funds will also go toward Blinn’s summer orientation program and additional advisors to help meet the demands of the College’s 28.3 percent enrollment growth since 2006.
The tuition proceeds will help cover the anticipated Teacher Retirement System (TRS) of Texas shortfall. To date, none of the state budget drafts have included this cost, meaning it will likely be left to community colleges throughout the state. Tuition costs will also help fund additional investments in Blinn’s Distance Learning online education programs, which offer students an option for higher education beyond the traditional classroom.
AffordableCollegesOnline.org recently listed Blinn among the most affordable large community colleges in the nation. The online site offers information about affordable higher education offerings through financial aid videos, expert advice and cost-saving ideas. The list was limited to public two-year colleges with an enrollment between 15,000 and 92,000 students and tuition below $3,000. Colleges were selected using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
The College was also recently named one of Texas’ top community colleges by Schools.com, bolstering Blinn’s reputation for diverse, high-quality educational offerings at an affordable price.