Students respond to another tuition hike

Anthony Dimattia, Centurion Staff

In regards to the recent decision by the Board of Trustees to raise tuition for the second year in a row, students at Bucks weighted in on whether they believed the increase was appropriate.

Starting this upcoming fall semester, county residents will see a $6 increase per credit, while out of county residents will see a $12 increase, as well as an $18 increase for out of state students. Reactions from students of the news was understandably negative, but most were understanding that the necessity to raise tuition costs were inevitable.

“You know it’s coming, you just hope it’s not a giant increase,” said Bill Hunter, 34, a liberal arts major from Levittown. Hunter, who highlighted he pays for every dime of his tuition, thought the increase decided upon by the trustees was reasonable.

Even with higher tuition costs Hunter stated that it’s still much cheaper than four year universities who charge upwards of $500 per credit. “They (Bucks) know they can raise tuition because they know people will come here because of the cost,” said Hunter.

“I’m not overly bothered by it,” stated Megan Fisher, 19, of Yardley, who does not plan to stay at Bucks after this semester. Unlike Hunter and Fisher, other students at Bucks voiced their displeasure over a continuing trend of escalating costs for higher education.

After an increase in tuition of 7.6 percent for the 2011-2012 academic year, Bucks students will be welcomed with an increase of 7.8 percent next year as well. According to the College Board, this increase was slight above the six percent average for two-year colleges during the 2011-2012 academic year.

“The last thing I need is another bill,” emphasized Matt Colter, 19, a phycology major from Levittown. Colter stated that “coming to Bucks was huge” financially after transferring from Duquesne University, but was noticeably discouraged by the recent tuition increase.

Stacy Cabin, 24, a medical and coding major from Bensalem, echoed Colter’s sentiment by exclaiming that the rises in tuition costs were indeed “stupid.” Cabin indicated that although “not too drastic, people come to community college because it’s more affordable.

Cabin was also concerned with students who relied on financial aid to attend Bucks, whom she believes would have a harder time accessing the appropriate funds because of the rate increases.

Some students hearing of the news for the first time were noticeably discouraged by the lack of communication from the school. Aside from a recent press release on the schools website students were not otherwise notified of the trustees’ decision regarding tuition.

“It would have been more appropriate if they sent something in the mail to students instead of just posting a press release,” stated Colter.

The tuition hike may be largely attributed to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed budget which will cut spending for higher education for a second consecutive year and lower per-student state support for colleges below the 1995-1995 level. “Together with the state cut, salaries and benefits already negotiated, increases in fixed expenses such as insurance and utilities and contracted services, will require a further tuition increase.”

President Linksz noted that, “Careful cuts have been made by the college to protect students’ access to college and college quality,” with nearly $2 million being cut during the 2011-2012 as well next year. Although appreciative of the continued support for higher education from the County Commissioners and Governor’s office, Linksz also pointed for the need to preserve quality education at an affordable cost.

“Students are inevitably going to pay more at public colleges when sponsoring government entities do not share fully in the proportional increases in the cost of education,” said Linksz.

With continual state budget cuts and less sponsorship in sight for colleges, students at Bucks will be faced with an extra burden during registration next fall.