Sauk Valley Community College Board approves tuition increase

DIXON – The Sauk Valley Community College Board approved a $4 tuition increase for the fall Monday.

The increase brings tuition to $139 per credit hour and totals $155 with the $16 student services fee.

The increase is estimated to generate around $100,000 to $125,000, which would help funding following an enrollment decline during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, the board was presented with a plan to increase tuition by $4 each year for the next three years as a “slow and steady” approach to help make up for declining enrollment. Increases would be about 2.5% each year.

Board member Margaret Tyne said she thinks it’s better to do smaller tuition increases annually, rather than being faced with a large one down the road.

Sauk President Dave Hellmich has said the $4 increase would be the lowest percentage increase since 2014, and lowest dollar increase since 2015. With CARES Act funding and financial aid, he said he’s confident that the increase would not be an impediment for students coming back.

The college had budgeted for a projected 5% decline in enrollment, but that came out to around 15% because of COVID-19, putting tuition and fee revenue $400,000 less than expected.

Comparing this semester to last spring, total headcount is down by 21%, or 346 students, while total credit hours are down by 16.9%, according to data presented to the board last month. Paid enrollment decreased by 14.9%. Full-time enrollment is down 7.5% in headcount and down 9.2% in number of credit hours, and part-time enrollment is down 26.6% in headcount and down 29.6% in number of credit hours.

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers joined Sauk Valley Media in 2016 covering local government in Dixon and Lee County.