NORMAL — The $3-per-credit-hour tuition increase approved by the Heartland Community College board of trustees Tuesday night will not solve the district’s financial issues.

But coming off several years of much larger tuition increases, President Allen Goben said, “The students have shouldered enough of the burden the last couple of years.”

The increase, which takes effect with summer semester, sets tuition at $130 per credit hour. The $7-per-credit-hour student life fee remains unchanged.

The $2-per-credit-hour student center fee, which expires this year, will be replaced with a $2-per-credit-hour program development and facilities enhancement fee. The student center fee has been in effect for five years to pay off construction bonds.

School administrators met with student leaders before making the recommendation.

Student trustee Mihir Patel told fellow board members the student recognize “all the difficulties” the college faces and wanted to support continued student services on campus.

“We were pretty happy with the proposal,” he said.

Several board members expressed reluctance, but all present voted in favor. Board members Harry Dunham and Steve Graham were absent.

“We all realize at some point somebody is not going to be able to go to college” because of the cost, Board Chairman Gregg Chadwick said. “We have to find the right balance to make sure the institution is financially sound.”

But the tuition increase alone won’t do that.

Rob Widmer, vice president of business services, said: “No, it’s not going to fill the budget hole. There are going to be challenges.”

Widmer and Goben said it is still early in the budget process, but they will be looking at ways to cut costs.

With the increase, Heartland’s tuition and fees will be slightly above the statewide average for public community colleges, Widmer said, but he did not have the exact figure.

In other action, the board approved a new program that would lead to a physical therapist assistant associate’s degree.

The need for more trained physical therapist assistants was cited in a survey of businesses within the district, Terri Saxton, dean of health and human services, told the board.

East Peoria-based Illinois Central College offers a physical therapist assistant program. However, five Heartland district students have been on a waiting list for three years, the board learned.

No other school offers a physical therapist assistant program from ICC to the Indiana border, Saxton said.

The college hopes to begin offering the program in fall 2014.

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Wow tuition and fees now $139 per hour for 2013. I wish wages would have risen proportionally to what tuition and fees were in 1984. Back in 1984 it was $18 per credit hour and community colleges in Illinois. Now you try to tell everyone it has jumped from $18 to $139 per credit hour. This is exactly why the number of students are falling and students attending college is starting to drop or already has peaked. Unless you are going into a high demanding field of engineering, accounting, nursing, and a few other careers, there may not be a job when you get your diploma that is waiting for you. We need to be honest with students starting in middle school so that their expectations of college and a career are in line with what the economy and where the economy has job openings for the future. Telling everyone they should go to college is a very costly mistake and that is why thousands are now unable and are now defaulting on their loans. If you are only going to make minimum wage or slightly above, the math doesn't add up for the benefit of getting a college degree. Students need to make better choices for college degrees that are in-line with jobs that are open now and the future. Check online where career openings are currently at across a wide span of careers and you will learn where the shortages are for skills that students are not graduating with and getting a job. Sometimes it is not what we really want to do for a career, it is what we have to do to stand on our own two feet and not live in our parents home forever. Overall the price of college each year is more ridiciulous than the previous year for costs. Where it stops no one really knows but the bubble is already beginning to deflate and burst because the number of students continues to decline because it is just to expensive for the average Joe.


This "high end community college" has lost it's way.....costs to student customers are "vaguely above average" .......And, wait until the taxpayers hear about the long term maintenance costs for the wind tower....... The wild spending and dumming of Americal continues!

Allen Goben needs to go! In this economy, enrollment should not be dropping at HCC.

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