BEATRICE – Southeast Community College administrators are proposing a two-dollar increase in tuition and a one-dollar increase in fees for the next academic year. But, some college board members are pondering whether the increase should be more, to take pressure off property tax payers who help fund college operations.


If the proposal goes into effect, an SCC student would pay a total of $120 per semester hour, compared to the current $117. The total cost for 30 semester- hours would increase from the current $3,510…..to $3,600.


Board member Arlyn Uhrmacher, of Lincoln says students should pay their fair share to attended college….but what is a fair share, is difficult to determine.
"As I track the three-legged stool from four years ago, to now...the legs are a different length than they use to be....and the property tax leg is longer than it used to be."


Southeast derives 52-percent of total revenue from property taxes…..31-percent from state aid…..and 17-percent from tuition.


"People got to say their piece about property taxes and property tax increases. My guess is that pieces of legislation like the one that caused that are going to continue to be there...and we are going to attract more attention than we have in the past. So, I think we need to be cognizant of that. We only have control over one or two legs of the stool and one of those is tuition. I'm not negative about raising the tuition...in fact in my mind, is that enough?"


Colleges also have to weigh competitiveness with other higher education institutions, including other community colleges, when setting the level of tuition. Currently, SCC ranks about in the middle of Nebraska’s community colleges, for tuition and fees.  SCC Board President Neal Stenberg, of Lincoln says there’s a lot of factors to consider.


"Once we make this decision, once we set tuition, its done. Trying to get it right is very important and I'm sensitive to all of the issues. We have a lot of students come from poor backgrounds and we don't want to overcharge them or price them out of community college. It's an extremely important opportunity. The other considerations are important also. I wish I had an answer....I don't."


The tuition and fees proposal would amount to an increase of less than three-percent….at a time inflation has been running at seven to eight percent.
A room and board proposal being offered would leave room rates the same at SCC residence halls but increase meal cost by about five-percent. Action on tuition, fees, room and board is planned at SCC’s December board meeting.