College of Lake County students will be hit with tuition and fee hikes for the next two academic years.
Board members at a meeting this week voted to boost in-district tuition by $6 per credit hour for 2014-15 and another $8 in the 2015-16 academic season. The elected officials also agreed to hike comprehensive fees by $3 per credit hour starting in the 2014-15 fall semester.
With the combination of higher tuition and fees, CLC students will pay $121 per credit hour in the fall semester -- an 8 percent increase from the current $112 mark. Grayslake-based CLC's rate will be $129 per credit hour for 2015-16.
CLC board Chairman Amanda Howland said officials held the line for two years on tuition and fee increases while trying to cut discretionary spending and eliminate redundancies.
However, she said, the college has seen a significant drop in revenue it had been receiving from new construction in Lake County, and officials also expect state funding to be flat or drop.
"Even with the tuition increases approved (Tuesday), we will be required to cut about $2.3 million in expenditures over the next two years. While administration looks for further cost savings, the board will continue to tighten its own expenditures," Howland said.
Officials said they are trying to contend with rising expenses and declining enrollment at a school that experienced a jump of more than 1,700 students from 2008 to 2010. CLC has about 18,000 students enrolled in credit programs at campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan.
Howland said CLC may achieve savings through employee attrition and reductions in services and work hours, along with the board-related cuts. She added that college departments have been cooperative in trying to trim expenses as much as possible.
CLC's board members, by a 6-1 margin, approved raising tuition and fees in separate votes for 2014-15 and 2015-16. Howland, Richard Anderson, Philip Carrigan, Jeanne Goshgarian, William Griffin and Lynda Paul were in favor, with Barbara Oilschlager the lone dissenter.
College of Lake County is not the only area community college to approve tuition and fee increases. For 2014-15, College of DuPage's price recently was increased to $144 per credit hour and Harper College to $126.25.
At $121 per credit hour, Howland said, CLC remains a "good value" for higher education compared to the other community colleges or four-year universities.