06/30/11 — WCC tuition to rise

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WCC tuition to rise

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 30, 2011 1:46 PM

While Wayne Community College students will have to pay more to take college classes in the fall, officials maintain it's still a bargain.

The North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges next month will adopt the $10 increase per credit hour for curriculum tuition, proposed in the recently passed General Assembly budget. That translates to a new cost of $66.50 per credit hour for in-state students and $248.50 for those out-of-state.

For a student taking 16 semester hours, the average full load for a semester, the cost will be $1,064 in tuition plus $36 in fees. The rates go into effect July 1, just in time for fall classes, scheduled to begin Aug. 18. Registration starts mid-July.

WCC President Dr. Kay Albertson said the college is bracing for the fallout.

"We know the increase is going to negatively impact some of our students," she said this week. "More and more are going to rely on financial aid and scholarships, and some are not going to be able to take as many classes, but we are encouraging them to not give up when they hear this news."

In sharp contrast to the decline of the economy in the past two years, enrollment at the college had spiked. Last fall's enrollment surpassed the previous year's, boasting a 6.5 percent increase among curriculum students, officials said at the time.

Then, as now, education is what gives people the advantage to succeed in the difficult economic times, Mrs. Albertson said.

"We hope that at the worst, some students will find this rate increase to be a speed bump, not a stop sign," she said.

Compared with other surrounding area colleges, also experiencing the tuition increase, WCC still offers a "great deal" at $2,128 for two semesters of classes, the president said.

According to rates published on other institutions' websites, Barton College tuition for the upcoming year is $21,258; East Carolina's tuition for in-state students is $3,348 and Mount Olive College commuters will pay $8,150 while those living on campus will be charged $11,400.

Michael Best, Student Government Association president at WCC and himself a father, took a philosophical approach to the price increase.

"You aren't investing in just an education or a system to get a job, but a legacy," he said. "You are establishing things not just for yourself but also for your children and your children's children. We have to make short-term sacrifices to meet long-term goals."

Best said if he could say one thing to his classmates, it would be not to let the fact that tuition is going up deter them from signing up for classes, even if on a limited basis in the interim.

"You may not be able to take as many classes as you desire, but every class you do take is a step toward progress," he said. "Be reminded that 'one raindrop raises the ocean.' You may not be able to do it as fast. You may have to focus on one or two classes, and you may do better."

Officials at the college are currently preparing for the next round of registrations.

Students who attended the college during the spring or summer 2011 semester will be given "priority" status for fall classes, with registration July 5-19. They should have already been notified of the date to begin registering online once they have consulted with their academic advisor.

Other opportunities for open registration will be July 13, 14 and 19 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. and July 18 from 1-7 p.m. Open registration is for students who have completed all admission steps, been accepted as a student, taken placement tests and met with an advisor.

Payment of tuition and fees for those registering in July will be due by 4 p.m. on Aug. 4.

Registration can also be done on Aug. 1 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., with payment due by Aug. 4, Aug. 16 from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Aug. 17 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Those registering Aug. 16 and 17 must turn in payments by 4 p.m. on Aug. 17.

A complete schedule of fall classes and a 2011-2012 catalog is available online at www.waynecc.edu. For more information, call 735-5151.