By LIZ MOORE and JOSEPH HANSEN, Ranger Reporters:
Amarillo College President Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart is reassuring students in the wake of a recent tuition increase. Last month, the board of regents voted for the tuition hike, which will take effect this summer. Now students are expressing concerns about the rising costs.
“I was kind of appalled at first. I’m kind of having mixed feelings on it,” said physical therapy major Alyson Whitsell. “It is kind of hurting me a little bit because I am paying for it for myself.”
Lowery Hart said the increase of $5.25 per credit hour is necessary to avoid raising taxes or cutting jobs. “We didn’t come to this decision lightly,” Lowery-Hart said. “There was a lot of discussion about it, and our hope is that we will only raise tuition every three to four years and this won’t be a regular occurrence.”
The regents’ decision to boost tuition followed news of an anticipated $1.5 million additional cut to AC funding. The last time the board increased tuition was a $2 hike in 2015. The money raised will cover the cost of items such as tutors, software licenses and other administrative and maintenance fees.
Although the increase does impact students, there are ways to help cover the costs of school.
“We have resources in the community,” Lowery-Hart said. “We have scholarships available, not only from the community but from our own foundation, and we can help students absorb this and still continue what they’ve started.”