By LIZ MOORE, Ranger Reporter:
The Amarillo College board of regents has voted to raise tuition and fees. At the regent’s meeting Tuesday, March 28, AC President Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart gave a heartfelt speech urging the board to approve the increase of $5.25 per credit hour. Following news of an anticipated $1.5 million additional cut to college funding, AC is doing what it can to avoid a massive boost in tuition without raising taxes, Lowery-Hart said.
“Amarillo College has gone to great lengths to reduce costs and only raises tuition to keep up with inflation,” said Lowery-Hart. “We did not come to this lightly.”
Lowery-Hart praised the board for being able to keep tuition low and consider in the best interests of the students. In a time when big universities are raising tuition for the sake of raising tuition, lower tuition costs are uncommon, Lowery-Hart said.
Compared to other area community colleges, AC has a low cost of attendance. Frank Phillips College in Borger charges $140 per credit hour and Clarendon College charges $101 per credit hour. With this increase, AC will now charge in-district students $89 per credit hour.
Most AC students are enrolled part-time so, for the average AC student, this means about $30 more per semester. For a full-time student, it will be about $60 more each semester. The AC Foundation will help offset the additional costs by adjusting scholarships for the increase, Lowery-Hart said.
“I understand the need and support the action taken by the regents,” said Paul Clark, AC Foundation Board president. “Our AC students can rest assured that the Foundation will be here to support them.”
AC will continue to connect students with scholarship money from the AC Foundation to help students offset this tuition increase. The increase will go effect April 10 when registration opens for summer and fall classes.
“The AC Foundation has done a wonderful job of cultivating additional and new scholarship dollars for our students,” said Paul Proffer, AC regent and vice president of the board. “We will continue to maximize these resources and connect students to these dollars.”
This increase in tuition and fees will cover costs for things such as tutors and administrative fees from services such as Blackboard and Ellucian as well as maintenance fees. Lowery-Hart assured the board as well as those attending that this was not a decision that was made lightly.
“We have done this in the right way for the right reasons,” Lowery-Hart said.