While seeing the word increase and tuition in the same sentence may frighten some, the panicking may not be necessary. On April 22, the Bucks Board of Trustees unanimously voted that they would increase tuition by $5 at the college for the upcoming year. This change will be effective by Aug. 22, 2018, the beginning of the fall semester. The increase in tuition is due to maintaining quality at the college while also maintaining the fiscal balance.
For students in the county, the tuition will rise from $145 to $150 per credit. For out of county Pennsylvania residents, the tuition goes from $290 to $300. The tuition for non-sponsored counties, such as Bedford, Bradford, and Cameron, will be $180 from their current $175 a credit. As for out of state students, it will be $450 a credit. All other fees, like college services, technology support, and lab fees will remain the same.
“Although we made some difficult decisions to balance this budget, Bucks continues to be a great value with strong academic programs and dedicated faculty and staff,” President Stephanie Shanblatt says, “We were able to keep the tuition increase to a minimum amid support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the County of Bucks, the college’s local sponsor.”
Students, however, have varying opinions on the matter.
Shannon Perry, undecided on her major, believes “the increase may stray people away if they think it will end up costing too much money.”
On a different side of the argument, Sophie Pincotti, an 18-year-old liberal arts major, explained, “I don’t really think it is a big deal. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but five dollars per credit could also really add up, especially for people taking a lot of classes and or struggling to pay tuition as is.”
Similarly, Kristen Florczak, a 20-year-old a business major, says, “I feel like if the cost needed to be increased so that they can balance the budget, then that’s what they should do. It’s still a lot cheaper than going to a four year institution, instead of going to Bucks and then transferring.”
In 2016, in-state Penn State Abington students paid around $32,030 for tuition and fees of the academic year. In the same year, students at Penn State’s main campus paid a total of $35,758 for in-state tuition.
A year at Bucks with the new increase, when taking twelve credits a semester would cost $4,538 for tuition and fees. The Abington campus is a short 34 minutes away from Bucks, yet to attend the school costs that much more.
The Board’s vote will raise tuition to an average yearly total of $4,538. Students should be questioning why tuition increases at Bucks have, according to archives and news releases, has been a constant reoccurrence since 2003. The most recent tuition increase raises the price per credit as much as $5 for in-county residents, $10 a credit for out-of-county, and $15 for out-of-state residents. Tuition rates will increase beginning on Aug. 22, the start of the fall semester.
In total, students will pay $150 a credit for in-county, $300 out-of-county, and $450 for out-of-state. Additional lab fees will remain unchanged in the upcoming semester.
In 2005, the average yearly tuition was $2,600. Between 2005 and 2015, there has been a total increase of 60 percent in tuition at Bucks.
In 2011, Bucks lost $2 million in funding from the state, and students and the college were left to deal with the aftermath.
Since 2015, Bucks students have experienced constant tuition hikes with each pending academic year. Students faced a 3.8 percent raise for the 2015-16 academic year which raised the then tuition to $4,178 for those who taking at least 24 credits.
Tuition was raised as enrollment decreased, while funding has slowly been cut with the hopes to remain an affordable, yet quality school.
In 2016, tuition was once again raised by another $5 as students were expectedly unhappy with the decision, making the yearly average cost for those taking 24 credits to a total of $4,298. With a continuous increases of $5 every year, the money will soon add up, taking a bigger toll on students than they realized.
In 2017, there was a 3.6 percent increase to tuition before the fall semester. Many students were angry with the outcome, arguing college was already pricey, while others said it was worth the education.
This increase brought the price per credit to $120 for in-county students. Raising even more for out-of-county, and out-of-state residents.
Our past two governors, Tom Corbett and Tom Wolf, have overlooked programs that could help and increase community college funding. This would place less direct pressure on schools and students.
In comparison to other schools like Temple University, Bucks’ tuition is very affordable. Receiving an associate’s degree at Bucks is the expense of room in board at a four-year university. With a $33,048 price tag, it is clear why many students attend community colleges before going onto bigger schools.