The Yavapai College District Governing Board voted 4 to 1 to increase tuition and other fees for their students. Yavapai College had the second lowest tuition in the state and now moves to the fourth lowest out of fifteen County districts. This increase was questioned by Board member Deb McCasland. Ms. McCasland asked Clint Ewell, vice president of finance and administrative services for the college, with declining enrollment will this precipitate further decreasing numbers? Mr. Ewell responded he did not think so. He also stated this increase “may” prevent a tax increase to Yavapai County residents. Yavapai College District Governing Board has taxing authority, given by the Arizona State Legislature to increase property taxes in Yavapai County without voter approval.
Tuition is not the only increase at the college. Other auxiliary fees were increased such as non-student proctor fees, smoking fines, and meal plans to name a few.
Mr. Ewell and Board Chairman, Ray Sigafoos, both stated the declining enrollment was lessening due to the steady improvement of the economy during the last few years, especially with the decrease in unemployment. It was mentioned by Ms. McCasland the unemployment number did not include the people no longer looking for work. Mr. Ewell agreed with the statement.
The raise of about 5% for Tier 1 and Tier 3 students and 5.6% amount for Tier 2 is concerning. Declining enrollment has been a trend in the last few years for most community colleges. This may change, but with $1.6 million in cash reserve and $24.4 million in cash equivalent resources, the need to expand the tennis courts, build new facilities, and raise tuition seems unnecessary at this time.
In 2012 tuition was $70 and steadily increasing to $83, after the approved increase for Fall of 2017. Considering the steady decline of enrollment increased fees may be a factor for the lack of students. If enrollment continues to decline the Governing Board will be forced to increase property taxes to subsidize their building projects and other items.
It is important to get involved. All Yavapai College District Governing Board meetings are posted at the following locations: Yavapai College website, Prescott and Verde Valley campus libraries; District Office, Prescott Campus in Building 32, and the specified meeting location. Meetings are typically scheduled for the second Tuesday of each month, starting at 1:00 p.m. unless otherwise posted. Every taxpayer needs to get involved. Come to the next meeting and see your tax money at work.
Citizens Tax Committee (CTC) Education Co-chair