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Tuition kept at same level for 2023-24 academic year

Tuition kept at same level for 2023-24 academic year

NORFOLK, Neb. – Members of the Northeast Community College Board of Governors reiterated their commitment to keeping education as affordable as possible Thursday by voting to keep tuition at its current level.

Several board members said a highly educated, skilled workforce helps to drive the local economy.

“We know the importance of education and we read the headlines and hear the news about how the costs of education are keeping many deserving students out of college. As a board, we can’t see putting additional expense on the backs of students,” said Nicole Sedlacek, a board member from O’Neill.

The board voted 7-0 to keep the rate the same, although some consideration was given to raising it.

Scott Gray, Northeast’s vice president of administrative services and general counsel, presented information on tuition. Northeast’s tuition is $108 per credit hour. Fees are an additional $20 per credit hour.

Northeast’s last tuition increase was for the 2022-23 year, which was set back in the Fall of 2021. So, for the 2024-25 year rates, which the board just set Thursday, it will be the second year in a row that there will be no tuition increase.

Board members also voted 7-0 to simplify the tuition rate for students from all bordering states. Previously, the rates varied. Now, they all will pay $108 per credit hour – the same as in Nebraska. All non-resident students from any other remaining state and international students are $151 per credit hour.

While Northeast has been committed to keeping rising education expenses from being pushed onto students, recent cuts and uncertain future funding cast a partly cloudy revenue picture. State aid, property taxes and tuition and fees are the biggest sources of funding for the college.

Last month, some from the public urged the board to lower its levy, which it did. The board cut .25 of a cent from the levy, or about $1 million in property tax revenue. Others from the public have urged the board to raise tuition so that students pay for more of the costs of education.

Leah Barrett, president of Northeast, reminded board members that Northeast’s responsibility is to serve the students who are underserved. Most of Northeast’s students receive financial aid, she said.

“The need to keep tuition as low as possible is our priority,” Barrett said. “We know there are students who absolutely cannot afford any more than they already are paying, so we will make cuts to make up any revenue shortfall in the short term.”

Board members also discussed how education is the great equalizer for people looking to improve their economic status. They talked about how they meet generations of students from time to time who share how learning a trade or going to community college opened doors and helped them to rise from poverty.

Northeast offers free dual enrollment classes, which mostly are taken in area high schools and taught by instructors who meet the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) qualifications. HLC is the college’s accrediting body.

Dual enrollment presents another way for students to save on college. Metro Community College is the only other college in the state that offers free tuition for dual enrollment classes.

Board members also voted 7-0 to keep room and board rates the same. The amount that students pay varies according to the meal plan they select, and the residence hall where they stay.