15 June, 2017
Dr. Martha Lavender, president of Gadsden State Community College, said an approved tuition increase and new building fee will go into effect for the fall semester. The fee will assist in paying the bond debt service on $25 million that will be used for construction and renovation projects on three of its six campuses.
“The new special building fee was announced in March but we want to make sure all of our students and prospective students are aware of the change,” she said.
The fee will pay the bond debt service for the construction of a new science building on the East Broad Campus, an addition to the Cheaha Career Center on the Ayers Campus and renovations to Allen Hall on the Wallace Drive Campus. The special building fee is $12 per credit hour, which brings the fee total to $31 per credit hour.
“Our students have been paying a $9 technology fee, a $9 facility renewal fee and $1 for the reserve fund for every credit hour they take,” said Dr. Jim Prucnal, dean of financial and administrative services. “We will include the $12 building fee this fall. Up until now, Gadsden State has been one of a few community colleges that has not utilized a building fee to improve campus infrastructure.”
He said tuition and fees at Gadsden State are increasing from $136 per credit hour to $150, which includes a $2 per credit hour tuition increase.
“That’s about a 1.7 percent increase,” he said. “We are just trying to keep up with the cost of operations and maintenance and the cost of providing academic education and workforce development training to our students. We will continue to work to keep our tuition and fees as low as we can.”
In 2009, the Alabama State Board of Education, which had jurisdiction over the Alabama Community College System at the time, approved an annual tuition rate increase of $2 per credit hour per year. The ACCS Board of Trustees, which was appointed in 2015, approved continuation of the $2 tuition increase in April 2016.
“Even with the tuition increase, Gadsden State still has one of the lowest cost per credit hour than most institutions in the state,” Lavender said.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Gadsden State has the seventh lowest net price for full-time undergraduate students among Alabama colleges and universities that offer associate degrees. Net price is the cost of attendance minus grant and scholarship aid.
“The decision to implement a new building fee was not an easy one to make, but it was necessary to improve Gadsden State’s infrastructure for our students.” Lavender said. “Our students are our No. 1 priority, and we want to ensure that Gadsden State continues to be a valuable investment in their future. Yes, there’s a slight increase in tuition and fees, but we are still providing a quality education at an affordable price.”