Black Hawk College will hold its in-state tuition to $149 per semester hour for fiscal year 2019.
The college’s board of trustees voted unanimously Thursday to not raise the tuition for the fiscal year, which includes the 2018-2019 academic year.
The college’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.
Board vice-chair Douglas Strand, in looking at the lower enrollment the college has recently suffered as well as the funding issues from the state of Illinois, said he is happy with the $149 per semester hour cost, but wondered if the board should not consider $150.
Strand said that since 2002, state funding for the college has continuously declined. Couple that decline in state funding with the lower enrollment, he said, and maybe that extra dollar in tuition would give the college a bit more financial flexibility.
“I hate to raise tuition because we’re raised it a couple of times,” Strand said. “At $149 we’re still the best bang for the dollar. But I just wanted to throw that out there.
“But it’s up to all of us, faculty and staff, to continue to increase enrollment at Black Hawk College,” he said. “We need more people pushing enrollment.”
However, Strand added, the issue will need to be raised again in the next fiscal year.
“Next year is the time to consider it,” board chair Richard Fiems said.
Recognizing the problems of funding from the state, which still owes the college $1.15 million for fiscal year 2017, Fiems said it has always been a policy of the board, “to not visit the sins of the legislature on the students.”
Fiems added that “enrollment is doing what enrollment is doing across the board, especially in Illinois.”
The board is supposed to be fiscally responsible and good stewards of the funding it does get for the college, he said.
“That being said, enrollment is everybody’s business,” Fiems said. “We have to get the word out this is a good value.
“We have to let people know Black Hawk College is here to stay,” he said. “We’re not going anywhere. I especially want to get that message out to the area high schools and the parents of the area’s high school students. We are not going anywhere."
Board member Fritz Larsen said that as far as the budget process is concerned, it’s time to lock in the tuition.
Larsen added that “$149 is a price point to me. From a marketing perspective we’ve stayed under $150."
“Similar institutions are charging more,” Larsen said. “It’s a credit to the college to keep the price per credit below theirs and below $150.”