BEATRICE – Southeast Community College has new tuition and fee rates for next year. The SCC Board of Governors set tuition and student fees at a total of $121 per semester hour, for the 2023—2024 academic year. That is a four-dollar increase from the current level…and came after the board last month expressed some doubt about tuition and fees not off-setting property tax revenue, enough. 

The board, meeting Tuesday in Lincoln, was presented with two alternative proposals, and chose one that will increase tuition and fees by about 3.4-percent.
SCC President Dr. Paul Illich says the new rates place the college at just above the average for tuition and fees, among community colleges in Nebraska.

"We've been following a strategy over the last few years....we developed a strategy to fund the facilities master plan projects that included several different approaches. One of them was to add a student fee all the way up to 15-to-20 dollars. Right now, were at 12. What are our needs in terms of facilities and what's happening....escalating construction costs. We felt like the two dollar increase in tuition, we have a backlog of expanded projects that is we need that. And, we think the two dollar increase in facilities (fee) would take us up to 14-dollars....which is getting close to that target range of 15-to-20 dollars."

Although comparisons are used with other community colleges, Illich says the system isn’t really designed to create price competition. "We have separate service areas and if we get too far out of alignment, a student might make a decision to go to Metro or go to Central, depending on where that student may be residing. I think being within alignment with the other community colleges is helpful."

SCC Board President Neal Stenberg says SCC has to consider higher inflation in the setting of tuition and fees….through what he called equitable sharing between tuition and property taxes to fund the college.

"The other thing I would add is I think it is important, because of inflation...that we do increase tuition and fees in time of inflation. If we fail to do that, then we just really fall behind the curve."  While the board finalized tuition and fees for next year, it postponed approval of room and board rates until the January meeting of the board.

Tuesday was the final college board meeting for four members who are leaving service to Southeast Community College. The board honored Dr. Dale Kruse, of Beatrice….Dr. Ellen Weissinger of Lincoln, Dick LeBlanc, of Lincoln…and Keith Hammons of Weeping Water.

The four have a combined total of 20 years and five months….serving as elected representatives for Southeast Community College. The board approved a proclamation honoring them at the end of Tuesday’s meeting, held at the SCC Continuing Education Center.