Enrollment down means tuition up

imageDMACC has second lowest tuition in the state but still had to raise tuition this year by 2.9 percent, from $139 per credit hour to $143 per credit hour.

This year DMACC’s tuition took another hit by having roughly a 6 percent drop in enrollment.  Tuition pays for many things such as facility up keep, staff and faculty payroll.    

Tuition works much the same way that taxes do: to keep the same funds in the bank as the previous year, we must maintain a similar amount of students. Each year DMACC attempts to keep tuition from rising, but if they must raise it, their goal is to keep the raise under 3 percent.

Tuition increase isn’t the only side effect of low enrollment. Another problem with enrollment lowering is that if a class does not have enough students signed up for it then that class has to be canceled.  If the college can’t afford to pay for the instructors time and the utilities in that room during that time then there is fiscal no way for that class to meet.

When classes are cancelled weeks before the start of class, then students don’t get the class they need to work with their schedules that they had setup.

Joe DeHart is the Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness for DMACC, and he has stated that low enrollment is not just a DMACC problem but is nationwide for schools.

When the economy is down and the number of good jobs is low, colleges see a higher enrollment rate.

When the economy starts to get better, as it has last year and this year, fewer people are going to school and instead choose to find work. This is shown even in DMACC’s enrollment numbers in 2010 when enrollment went from 22,625 the previous to 25,947.    

Each year schools hope for new funding to be voted into legislation, as each year costs of various things increase such as power, supplies, or cost of renovations.

As students have noticed, our campus is under construction, which also costs money.

The Iowa House of Representatives voted to give Iowa schools  “one time money” amounting to $8.8 million, which would be used for various reasons at community colleges and state universities. President Denson stated that our portion of that share would have been $400,000, which would have been used to renovate a new biology laboratory. Governor Terry Brandstad vetoed the bill. 

Colleges have been abuzz with talk of free two-year college ever since President Obama’s announcement of the bill “America’s College Promise Act.” This would help out many students to go to college.  Many American citizens are afraid to go to college purely because of the amount of debt they would acquire during education, while others state that they just can’t afford to go to school because they don’t qualify for student loans. 

DMACC’s President Denson had this to say about free community college: “Every time we receive more money we are able to get more students into training and then into jobs, so I think Obama’s plan is very important, particularly for low income students.”   

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