WNC introduces possible tuition hike | RecordCourier.com

WNC introduces possible tuition hike

by Rick Hoover
Western Nevada College students Luis Flores and Felipe Macias study before class on Tuesday.
Jim Grant | Nevada Appeal

Western Nevada College officials met on Tuesday to discuss the possibilities for tuition beginning with the 2019-20 academic year.

The college has a campus in Minden and about 80 of last spring’s 551 graduates came from Douglas County.

The Nevada Board of Regents is scheduled at its meeting June 7-8 to approve tuition for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years.

In January, the Nevada System of Higher Education Tuition and Fee Committee recommended a 1.8 percent increase across all Nevada institutions, based on the 2016 Higher Education Price Index.

Officially, the Board of Regents can choose any number, including no increase.

“Today, we are introducing the process and gathering information,” Scott Morrison, WNC vice president of academic & student affairs, told the room of about 25 people, a mix of students and university employees.

Similar meetings have been held at other higher education institutions in Nevada since regents in March asked for more information.

The 2018-19 academic year is the last of four years that saw a 4 percent tuition increase each year as the state rebounded from the recession. Tuesday’s meeting was part of a process to gather information for the next biennium, 2019-21.

WNC’s registration fee per credit is currently $98.75.

A 1.8 percent hike would raise it to $100.50.

A 4 percent hike would raise it to $102.75.

During Tuesday’s meeting, two students spoke in favor of the 1.8 percent increase. No person at the meeting spoke against an increase but there were concerns expressed about how the additional funding, if an increase is approved, would be spent.

The NSHE Tuition and Fee Committee is required to make a recommendation to the Board of Regents, but regents are not required to implement that recommendation.

“The board could pick its own number,” said Darla Dodge, WNC vice president of finance and administrative services.

And the committee’s recommendation of a 1.8 percent hike based on the 2016 Higher Education Price Index is already outdated.

The 2017 HEPI inflation rate was 3.7 percent — the highest increase since it was 5 percent in 2008 (www.commonfund.org).

The HEPI is updated annually. The 2018 rate will be released in July.