Brian LeMeur

News and Online Editor

If you’re coming back to CC next year, you should probably think about taking on another summer job.

This past weekend, the Board of Trustees approved a five percent increase in tuition costs for the 2014-2015 academic year. The increase raises cost of attendance, for those living on campus in a double room with meal plan C, to $57,162, from $54,534 this year. These figures do not include the cost of books, personal items, or travel expenses.

Each year, the campus budget committee (a group of two students, five faculty, and five staff) makes a tuition recommendation to President Tiefenthaler for the upcoming school year. President Tiefenthaler takes the recommendation to the board of trustees.

Last April, the community was told that CC would cost six percent more than it did the previous year, raising the cost of a CC education from $51,470 to $54,534 for the 2013-2014 academic year. This year’s increase pushes CC’s tuition $6,145 over the 2013 median household income of $51,017, as found by the US Census Bureau.

This year, the committee offered Tiefenthaler two choices: a five percent or six percent increase in tuition; Tiefenthaler chose the five percent option, citing “fundraising success and strong endowment performance” and “a few efficiencies that have allowed for the reallocation of funds,” as the reasons for her decision.

According to Alejandro Salazar, CCSGA’s Vice President for Finance, he was the only member of the campus budget committee who supported the five percent increase, besides the other student member of the committee, who advocated for a 3 percent increase, consistent with inflation. Tiefenthaler initially supported the six percent increase as well, according to Salazar.

The increase in tuition will help support a three-percent increase in faculty and staff compensation (35 percent of the funds that the tuition increase will bring in), the financial aid budget (31 percent), the strategic plan (13 percent), the utilities and operating budget (12 percent), and the debts for Slocum and the El Pomar fitness center (nine percent).

 

The increase in faculty and staff compensation includes salary, health insurance, and benefits. According to Vice President of Finance and Administration Robert Moore, the three percent increase in compensation is “probably a little bit more than inflation” would require because the college’s faculty and staff compensation is already below the median faculty and staff compensation of peer institutions.

“We’re trying to get to the average [faculty and staff compensation] of peer institutions,” said Moore.

The next largest portion of the five-percent increase was a 31-percent increase in financial aid funding. According to Moore, financial aid is the largest and fastest-growing portion of the endowment, due in part to the Walton Family Foundation Challenge, which challenges the CC community to match a $10 million donation in the next five years.

Thirteen percent of the increase’s funds will support investments in the strategic plan: investments in technology, career services, campus safety, international programs, the learning center, and experimental academic programs.

As the Board of Trustees finalized this weekend, part of the increase will be used to support the installation of solar panels on top of Cornerstone and El Pomar. The panels on top of Cornerstone are expected to cost $280,000 and are projected to pay themselves back in 11 years at a five percent escalation rate. The panels on top of El Pomar are expected to cost $420,000 and are projected pay themselves back in ten years at a five percent escalation rate.

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