CMC board OKs $5 tuition hike for 2021-22, lowers fees |

CMC board OKs $5 tuition hike for 2021-22, lowers fees

Spring semester enrollment up so far

In-state Colorado Mountain College students will be paying an extra $5 per credit hour for the 2021-22 academic year — the second year of CMC’s long-range fiscal plan to keep pace with inflation.

At the same time, the cost per credit hour for textbooks and other materials will be going down $4, for a net $1 overall increase to students.

Tuition and fee rates for next year were approved unanimously Tuesday by the CMC Board of Trustees, which met via video conference for their first meeting of the new year.

Tuition is to increase $5 for students residing within the college district, from $85 to $90 per credit hour, and within the expanded service area, from $175 to $180.

The CMC district covers all or parts of seven counties, including Garfield, Pitkin, Eagle, Lake, Summit, Routt and Chaffee.

Students from elsewhere in Colorado will see a tuition increase from $185 to $190 per credit hour, and the out-of-state tuition rate is to remain the same at $466 per credit hour.

Overall, CMC Vice President of Fiscal Affairs Mary Boyd said the average tuition increase for CMC students is in line with Gov. Jared Polis’s directive to hold such increases to 3% or less.

Last year, CMC also raised tuition $5 per credit hour, but the board declined to adopt a five-year tiered tuition rate increase that had been proposed by college administration. Instead, the board preferred to take it year by year.

The new adjustment is consistent with the college’s efforts to keep up with anticipated increases in expenses, CMC Chief Operating Officer Matt Gianineschi said.

Still, the college continues to significantly subsidize student education costs, according to the tuition proposal presented to trustees during Tuesday’s video-conference meeting.

“It’s never an easy decision to raise tuition,” CMC Board President Patty Theobald said. “This (plan) ensures students are still getting a good return on their investment, while maintaining the financial viability of the college.”

The rate change would yield an extra $440,212 to make up some of the subsidized costs. However, that number assumes stable enrollment, which remains uncertain given the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Things are looking up on that front with regards to the spring semester, CMC Vice President of Student Affairs Shane Larson reported during Tuesday’s meeting.

Classes, most of which are being conducted online given the ongoing COVID-19 concerns, began this week for the spring 2021 semester. As of Tuesday, full-time student equivalent enrollment was up 11% compared to January 2020, Larson said.

However, as students continue to adjust their schedules, that number is likely to drop, he said.

As of the preliminary numbers, though, female student enrollment is up 16% and Hispanic enrollment is up 14%. Male student enrollment, while currently up 5%, is expected to decline once the add/drop period concludes, Larson said.

“A focus for us this spring is to explore why we are seeing that trend,” he said.

As tuition is increasing, student materials fees will be going down for next academic year, including a $4 reduction in the overall fee, for a 13.8% decrease, Boyd said. Some of that reduction in cost is due to a shift from printed text materials to a digital format as many classes have moved online during the pandemic.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.