OLYMPIA – Tuition for in-state undergraduates at The Evergreen State College will rise by 14 percent in each of the next two years, the college’s board of trustees decided Thursday.
A full-time undergraduate from Washington will pay about $5,400 in tuition, and student and activity fees for the 2009-10 academic year and about $6,100 for 2010-11. The student and activity fees, though increasing, will rise by lower percentages in each of the next two years. Graduate and out-of-state undergraduate students also will see tuition increases of 5 percent over each of the next two years.
The resident undergraduate tuition alone will be $4,899 in 2009-10 and $5,585 in 2010-11, for a total increase of nearly $1,300 over the two years.
That tuition increase is part of the $158.2 million budget that will cover the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years. The college’s board of trustees approved the budget by a 6-1 vote.
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The dissenting vote was by student trustee Brittany Newhouse, who said a 14 percent increase each year was too large of a hit for students.
“We can’t say no to a (cost) increase to students, but 14 percent is still large,” she said. She said approving such a large increase now affects tuition for future classes.
It will affect “my sister, who will go to this school in a couple of years,” Newhouse said.
The budget includes a 7 percent college-wide budget reduction that would eliminate 34 positions, including two teaching positions.
TESC will use $1.2 million of its reserves in 2009-10. Many of the positions that will be lost this year will be eliminated through attrition, said college President Les Purce, who is taking a $13,000 cut to his compensation.
“It’s easy given what’s occurred to have the perception that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been,” he said. “But our general fund dollars are back to what they were in 1999.”
The state’s public four-year colleges and universities all have taken hits to their budgets because of the state budget shortfall, and the Legislature has allowed each college’s board to raise tuition by up to 14 percent.
Some of the state’s other four-year colleges and universities, including the University of Washington, Washington State University and Central Washington University, also have proposed 14 percent tuition increases for each of the next two years.
The budget also included a 5 percent increase in residence hall costs each year and a 7 percent increase in the cost of the college’s dining plan. That means that residence hall costs will rise from about $3,700 to $4,900 a year for on-campus housing to about $3,800 to $5,200 a year for housing in 2009-10 and $4,000 to $5,470 in 2010-11. Food costs will rise from $2,500 to $3,000 this year to $2,700 to $3,235 next year, then $2,885 to $3,500 the following year.
About two dozen students came to the board of trustees meeting to oppose the tuition increases.
Caitlin McNulty told the board that Evergreen has a mission to educate and be a resource for the state, and a tuition increase won’t serve families or the state in the long run.
“I feel like this budget doesn’t reflect that,” she said.
Student Ben Anderson asked the board to reconsider the proposed budget. “We feel it’s unreasonable in a constricted economy … to charge students more and provide them with less,” he said.
Student Anna Simonton said the tuition increase outpaces the growth of people’s income.
“Seeing people’s tuition go up 14 percent is an affront to people’s right to education,” she said.
Trustee Denny Heck said the vote for the budget was “joyless” but that a lesser tuition increase would require the college to cut deeper into programs.
“I’m not prepared to make cuts in quality,” he said.
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