Campus & Community

PBSC student fees to increase in 2015-2016; tuition remains flat

GradHatCoins-GreenThe cost of taking a class at Palm Beach State College will rise $2.75 per credit hour in 2015-2016 for students pursuing associate degrees and credit certificates, with the additional revenue going directly toward updating College facilities, enhancing technology and providing additional funds for student activities.

While keeping tuition flat for all students for the fourth consecutive year, the Palm Beach State College District Board of Trustees on Monday approved slight increases in the student activity, capital improvement and technology fees for credit courses. Combined, the increases total $2.75, raising the credit hour fee to $101 or $303 for a three-credit hour course. However, tuition and fees for noncredit PSAV courses will remain at $83.40 per credit hour and $2.78 per contact hour.

The tuition for bachelor’s degree courses, which is regulated by the Florida Legislature, also will remain unchanged, but the capital improvement fee for students taking those courses will increase by $2 per credit hour. That brings the total cost of the bachelor’s credit hour to $122.85 or $368.55 for a three-credit hour class.

Although the technology and capital improvement fees increased three years ago, PBSC’s tuition has not increased since the 2011-2012 academic year when it rose 8 percent. College leaders say the increase in fees helps ensure that students continue to have the best learning environment and the most up-to-date technology. This year, the College updated all of its computers, and more technology updates are planned. The student activity fee funds activities for the College’s athletic programs and its more than 75 clubs for such things as programs, events and travel to national conferences. Students decide how that money is allocated.

Despite the fee increase, the College’s tuition and fees remain lower than nearby Broward College and Florida Atlantic University and are among the lowest statewide and in the nation.

The tuition and fees are part of the more than $119.4 million continuation budget approved by trustees as the College awaits final approval of the state appropriations. Florida lawmakers reached a deal late Tuesday night and expect a final vote on Friday.

Richard Becker, vice president of administration and business services, said under the new performance based funding formula, the College is expecting an increase in its state appropriation, and the College’s overall general budget could increase by about $1.5 million. Without knowing the state appropriations, the continuation budget approved by trustees does not include a pay increase for the College’s non-union employees, but Becker plans to submit an amended budget to the board in August that may include pay raises that would more likely be effective sometime in the fall. The percentage has not yet been determined.

John Dowd, chairperson of the District Board of Trustees, applauded Becker for his work on the budget. “I’m always a staunch supporter of trying to do more with less,’’ he said. “I like the approach that you’ve started to take with matching it [fee increases] with actual needs.”

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