College of Lake County board members Tuesday night rejected an administration recommendation to raise total tuition and fees for students starting with the fall semester.
Under the plan, CLC would have enacted a $3-per-credit-hour hike for in-district tuition and fees, elevating it to $115 beginning with fall classes. CLC President Jerry Weber said about $810,000 would have been generated by the increase to make up for an expected reduction in state and federal funding.
But board members voted 5-1 against the proposed hike. CLC board Chairman Richard Anderson was among those to vote "no" after previously saying the school had little choice but to increase tuition.
In the end, Anderson said, he did not have enough confidence administrators have done enough to look at ways to save money. Trustee Jeanne Goshgarian voiced a similar concern, saying internal cost savings must be explored.
"I think we really need to seriously look at belt tightening," Goshgarian said.
Trustee Lynda Paul said raising tuition and fees could erode CLC's competitive advantage, possibly even causing students to consider lower-cost online schools.
"My concern is we'll price ourselves right out of the marketplace for higher education," Paul said.
Trustees Amanda Howland, William Griffin, Paul, Goshgarian and Anderson voted against the hike that had been recommended to start in the fall semester. Trustee John Lumber was the lone vote in favor.
Lumber said CLC officials may need to consider a tax-increase referendum to gain more revenue instead of pursuing future tuition increases.
Trustee Barbara Oilschlager arrived late to Tuesday's meeting and missed the vote, but went on record as being against raising total tuition and fees.
CLC trustees last year voted 5-2 in favor of hiking the credit-hour tuition and fees from $109 to $112. The extra $3 at that time was attributed to a new capital fee. Elsewhere, trustees at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake have increased by $3 the total credit-hour charge, which would bring it to $102 in the fall. The Glen Ellyn-based College of DuPage board voted for a $4 increase in tuition and fees, going to $140 per credit hour starting in the fall semester.