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Alamo Colleges Raise Tuition To Avoid Capping Enrollment

Students climb the stairs of the Chance Academic Center on the San Antonio College campus in June, 2018.
File Photo |Camille Phillips | Texas Public Radio
Students climb the stairs of the Chance Academic Center on the San Antonio College campus.

Tuition will go up $13 a credit hour at the Alamo Colleges next spring.

The community college district’s board of trustees voted last Saturday to raise tuition from $86 to $99 a credit hour, bringing the cost for the average course to $297.

Diane Snyder, vice chancellor for finance and administration at Alamo Colleges, told the board state funding isn’t keeping up with enrollment growth, and the district needed to raise tuition to avoid capping enrollment or reducing student services.

“It’s the same pool of money, even though we have a whole lot more students,” Snyder said.

She said state appropriations give the Alamo Colleges about $60 million for fiscal year 2019 — about the same as it did in fiscal year 2002, even though enrollment has gone up 43 percent and inflation has increased 42 percent over that time period.

“As recently as 2009, our three-legged-stool, our three revenue sources, were pretty equal: property tax, 33 percent; tuition, 31 percent; and state, 33 percent,” Snyder said. “In this year’s budget, property tax is 44 percent; tuition, 24 percent; state, 24 percent.”

Because state lawmakers areconsidering capping property taxes, Snyder said local property tax funds need to be saved for facilities, including thebuilding projects taxpayers approved last year.

“It’s really kind of frustrating,” Snyder said. “Our state has pushed up more local (funds), and then when they start dabbling in our local sources too, it pretty much only leaves us with the tuition arm.”

The tuition increase will add about $6.9 million in revenue to the Alamo Colleges fiscal year 2019 budget.

Snyder said most students won’t have to directly pay for the tuition increase because they receive enough grants to cover it.

The community college district last raised tuition in the spring of 2016, when it went up 5 percent. The district changed the formula and created an incentive to complete summer courses in 2017.

Camille Phillips can be reached at Camille@tpr.org or on Twitter @cmpcamille

Camille Phillips can be reached at camille@tpr.org or on Instagram at camille.m.phillips. TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.