CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County College students will have to dig a bit deeper into their wallets to enroll next school year, but many voiced they would do so gladly.
The McHenry County College Board of Trustees on Thursday approved a 2.9 percent increase in tuition – a $3 per credit hour jump, raising the per-credit-hour cost from $102 to $105 starting this summer session.
The increase is expected to generate $16.6 million along with class fees during the coming fiscal year. Even with the increase, the college remains well below the community college state average of $112.75 per credit hour.
A parade of students addressed the board for nearly an hour, offering support for a tuition increase and a plan to increase space, which the board is considering in the form of a significant $20-million-plus expansion.
Student trustee Natalie Diversiev later showed a video of students supporting the tuition increase as well.
Students said while they knew the tuition increase would not go directly to student services they said were vital to the college experience, the increase could prevent those services from getting cut if the college had to look to slash funding.
Chairman Ron Parrish said it was the student testimony that changed his mind on the increase.
“I was adamantly opposed to increasing tuition … I have changed my position on that,” Parrish said of the influence of the student testimony. “I think we need to be ultrasensitive in the future to cutting these [student services] activities.”
Trustee Chris Jenner was the only board member to vote against it, saying the price of higher education is out of control and McHenry County College needs to maintain its affordability.
Jenner’s opposition to college cost was supported on the next vote when the board shot down a $5 infrastructure fee that would go toward chipping away at $41 million in deferred maintenance.
Jenner was joined by Parrish and trustee Molly Walsh in opposition to the fee, while trustees Linda Liddell, Mary Miller and Cynthia Kisser supported it. Diversiev said the student senate also supported the infrastructure fee.
“I view this is as another tuition increase,” Parrish said. “I already voted for one, I won’t vote for another.”