Demand for a community college education is booming, yet many institutions are hurting financially as dwindling property tax revenues leave them substantially hiking tuition.
“It’s devastating,” said Curtis Ivery, chancellor of Wayne County Community College District, where tuition is rising 16% this year, from $67.65 a credit hour to $79 a credit hour. There, property tax revenue — a large source of funding — is projected to have declined nearly 20% from 2009 to 2010.
The same thing is happening at Macomb Community College and Oakland Community College, both of which have increased tuition by more than 11%.
The lack of funds is forcing colleges to consider fewer course offerings, push for more alumni donations and seek foundation grants.
Still, community college enrollment statewide is up 20% in the last five years. And these colleges remain a substantially cheaper option than four-year colleges and universities.