For the 11th time in as many years, the LCC Board of Education is deciding on a potential increase in student tuition and asking the ASLCC to weigh in.
Tuition to attend Lane has nearly tripled since 2001. Any increase would take effect July 1 of this year.
ASLCC must reach a collective opinion in the coming weeks regarding the potential tuition hike, as their stance will be considered by the Board of Education on an advisory basis.
During the Jan. 9 ASLCC meeting, President Merriam Weatherhead encouraged ASLCC members to “take a harsh stance of no tuition increases.”
When asked how the tuition increase would be spent, Weatherhead said she didn’t know for sure, a detail that irked some ASLCC staffers.
“There’s no way I could agree for a tuition increase if I can’t see what the benefit would be for students,” Senator Adam Brown said.
ASLCC campaign director Paul Zito said he can’t agree on a tuition increase after the Board approved a tuition increase last year.
“I think in times past, when they’ve raised tuition, all we hear from teachers is that they still get paid less,” he said. “They have a smaller (increase) this year and say that it will improve something, but all it does is make it harder for me to go to school and our teachers still say they don’t get paid enough and we have more part-time staff.”
Weatherhead said last year’s tuition increase wasn’t about teacher salaries, but she’s also concerned that a tuition increase could potentially make it more difficult for students to attend school.
“Students on campus cannot take another tuition increase,” she said.
Members of ASLCC said they hope to reach a consensus as soon as possible.
Regardless of ASLCC’s opinion, Lane may still be forced to adopt a tuition increase. The college is obligated to contribute more money to the Oregon Public Employee Retirement System this year, which may factor in the issue.
ASLCC advisor Barb Delansky said the Oregon PERS contribution increase will leave the college with a $3.5 million gap to fill.
Lane’s current deal with the Public Employee Retirement System will expire June 30, with the net contribution rates the college pays into the system increasing July 1 to 2015.
Under Lane’s current annual rates for net employer contribution to PERS, the college pays 6.65 percent first- and second-tier payroll, 4.99 percent Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan general service payroll and 7.70 percent in Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan police and fire payroll. Beginning July 1, the college’s contribution rates will nearly double, rising to 12.20 percent, 10.30 percent and 13.03 percent respectively.
“It’s the cost of doing business,” Delansky said.