By Rachel Byrd
The Lone Star College Board of Trustees intends to raise Lone Star Colleges tuition fees incrementally over the next five years.
The tuition increase is proposed to start this coming year with an additional $5-per-credit-hour.
According to statistics provided by the Houston Chronicle, taxpayers contributed 41 percent of the Lone Star College system’s revenue, while students only contributed 27 percent.
In the same Houston Chronicle article, LSC Chancellor Stephen Head stated he thought this increase was in the college’s best interests.
“We think we’re in a really good shape, and we don’t see the need for a tax hike. But we do need to get our tuition up,” says Head. “We can’t keep going back to taxpayers all the time when there’s some fair balance in there.”
Brian Cruz, a senator in Lone Star College-Kingwood’s student government association, thinks the increase is related to a recent rise in the college’s enrollment rate.
“If you notice after Harvey, the enrollment rate has gone up sufficiently enough, and so I think Lone Star is taking the opportunity to raise the tuition a bit more.”
Students are concerned about how this potential rise in tuition will affect them in the long-term.
“It’s going to be kind of hard,” says student Nicole Valverde, “Because right out of high school, there’s some families that are willing to give their all and pay for every dollar… but not everyone else has that opportunity.”
Valverde adds that while student loans can be helpful, it can lead to going into debt.
“I don’t plan on going into debt,” she says. “I don’t want to.”
Brian Cruz thinks it will affect students who pay for their own classes the most.
“For the people who have FAFSA or financial aid, it wouldn’t affect them too much, but for people who personally pay for their own classes, it would affect them tremendously,” says Cruz. “Due to the higher rate or higher price of tuition, they might have to put in more hours of work, or have to make more self-sacrifices just to pay for classes.”
Others, such as Ricky Nguyen, the director of operations for Lone Star College-Kingwood’s student government association, are more optimistic. Nguyen says, “It might not be too harsh on students.” However, Nguyen adds, “Five dollars might not seem like a lot, but over time, that’s going to keep impacting them.”
The raise in tuition will need to be approved by March if the Board of Trustees intends to implement the increase.