Local News

Community College Adminstrators Want Funds from Tuition Hikes

Posted May 9, 2007 5:41 p.m. EDT
Updated May 9, 2007 7:19 p.m. EDT

— Community college presidents have expressed anger as lawmakers consider moving tuition hike money to other parts of the state budget.

Few state agencies and programs get what they want when lawmakers go through the process of doling out funds in the budgetary process. But community college presidents argue their 800,000 full- and part-time students are not getting a fair deal.

“Our presidents are concerned and upset,” said Kennon Briggs, vice president of business and finance in the North Carolina Community College System. “Students will pay more, but funds won't necessarily be coming back.”

Briggs said students will pay more than $7 million in tuition hikes next year. Yet, it appears that money will go back into the state's general fund, instead of paying for needed counselors and programs.

“Our presidents are going, ‘What happened? What is different now than it's been in the past?’ And we don't have an answer for that,” Briggs said.

However, some lawmakers said the criticism is unwarranted.

“Some people kind of overreact to something I don't think is a major problem,” said Rep. Doug Yongue, D-Scotland.

Community colleges are slated to get $30 million extra for building and equipment needs. While still among the lowest in the country, instructors are looking at an average pay hike of five percent. College leaders want that tuition money, but some lawmakers said other agencies and programs are also in line.

“There are a lot of needs out there,” Yongue said.