Students respond to tuition increase, outsourcing

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There are major changes coming to Lane Community College in the near future that will be affecting day-to-day student life.

To start, on April 1, the Board of Education voted—with only Rosie Pryor in opposition—for a $4.50 per-credit-hour tuition increase.

Considering that LCC was already the most expensive community college per-credit-hour in the state of Oregon, this news has been met with criticism from the students, whom it will most directly affect.

Ana Weaver, a first year engineering student, said, “I understand that they are needing money for various things, but I also feel that the money that they do have is not being used effectively.” It was also said that “since a lot of people, especially those who come to a community college as opposed to a four-year university, are struggling financially anyway, afterall, that’s why a lot of people are here.”

Not liking, or even knowing, where student fees and tuition dollars go is a common position many LCC students are in.

Among those students is Bradley Jenkins who started studying psychology this year, but plans to stay for a couple more at least.

Bradley Jenkins (Selina Scott // The Torch)

He said that “we pay more [than other colleges], and so I want to see where the money is going,” adding that “it’s kind of getting thrown up in the air for the administration to catch, but I want to see it actually getting used for our benefit.”

In regards to tuition dollars being used to benefit students, Judah Robinson, a third-term music technology student, said “I was looking at what financial aid is covering and why I was $56 short, and it was just a bunch of random tacked-on [fees] that I have no use for.” He further explained by saying that “I’m not using the transportation fee for the bus pass—I drive here from Salem—and I don’t use the health clinic.”

Judah Robinson (Selina Scott // The Torch)

Long-term student, Katie Kreklau, who has been studying elementary education at LCC for two years, expressed understanding, but still showed discontent.

“I’m not keen on [the tuition increase], but I know that there’s a lot of bills to pay and not as many students are attending school, so that makes it a little harder to keep up with everything, so I understand it, but it definitely does make it harder as a student to attend,” Kreklau said.

Katie Kreklau (Selina Scott // The Torch)

Also among the changes coming to LCC is the outsourcing, or “localsourcing,” of Food Services after several years of losing money. While this has been voted on, it is unsure who, or what, will take its place.

This is concerning to students.

“When I do [use food services], it’s nice to have as a backup, it’s nice to know that there’s a coffee shop in here that I can go in and get coffee, or get lunch if I need to eat something. Food services are essential,” Judah Robinson said.

Further exemplifying that Food Services are essential, Katie Kreklau said “that definitely makes it a lot harder for me because I travel a half hour everyday to school and there are days that I forget my lunch like so not having that on campus to stop in between classes would make it extremely hard.”

Paxton Stone (Selina Scott // The Torch)

These changes to LCC, and their subsequent effects on students, have been met with sharp criticism from the Associated Students of Lane Community College Student Government. At the April 1 Board meeting, the student government held a “Tuition Freeze” event where members of the student government and other LCC students participated by wearing winter clothes and voicing their discontent with a tuition increase.

Looking toward the future, ASLCCSG President Nick Keough and Vice President Amadeo Rehbein-Verhoeven stand firm with the students of LCC and the need to hold tuition costs where they are and try to keep food options available on campus.

ASLCCSG President Keough said “all of the people who are making these decisions are out of touch with the real student experience and it shows in their decisions.”

This is a sentiment shared by many who have already voiced their feelings on what’s happening at recent Board of Education meetings—including himself.

He continued by saying “luckily, four out of seven of the Board members are up for election on May 21. If Board members can’t support students in their decisions, students won’t support Board members at the polls. Be warned.”