John Forsyth (left), chair of the Treasure Valley Community College board and other board members at a recent meeting. (The Enterprise/File)

ONTARIO – Treasure Valley Community College is recommending a tuition increase – the fourth in five years – to help balance its budget next year.

The new plan will raise about $200,000 a year from more than 2,000 students.

The proposal comes as the college faces severe financial stresses and needs to slash spending by almost $500,000 to balance its budget. The college last week terminated six instructors in a move to cut costs for the next school year.

The new tuition hike was scheduled to go to the college’s board Tuesday night. The board will decide on the boost in April.

The proposal would lift the cost per credit in lecture/lab classes by $40. The college will also raise the price of credits for just lab classes by $80.

The cost per credit for a full-time Oregon student each term is now $99. A full-time student is someone who takes at least 12 hours of credits.

The impact of the price hike will vary. As an example, a biology 101 class, which includes three credits of lecture and one credit of lab, costs $396. Next year, the same class would cost $476 under the proposed hike.

The plan would impact almost all students, said Kevin Kimball, college interim vice president of administrative services.

“Even if a student takes an English class and there is no lecture/lab or lab component, that student may take a science class or a math class with a lecture/lab or lab credit,” said Kimball.

Kimball said the tuition boost is an alternative on an $3 hike in all credits that was considered in December.

The reason for the hike is simple, said Kimball.

“We need to balance our budget. What we are trying to do is that when we raise our tuition it is related to our cost of providing direct instruction,” said Kimball.

While Kimball said the boost could impact lecture classes “throughout all programs” it will especially hit career-technical education classes.

Kimball emphasized that the hike is preliminary.

“This is really early in the process,” he said. “Certainly, we’d rather not increase but our costs do increase and we have to have the resources to cover the costs.”

Olivia Johnson, student body president, said student government was aware of the plan.

“We haven’t been told the exact dollar amount that will be raised,” said Johnson.

Johnson said no one wants to see a tuition hike.

“I understand that it is likely to be implemented due to the current state that the institution is in,” said Johnson.

The college’s own statistics show that since 2002, tuition costs at TVCC have trended higher than the state average.

In 2003, full-time tuition at TVCC was $2,601, compared to the state average of $2,225.

This year, TVCC’s full-time tuition was $5,445, the fourth highest in the state. The state average for 18 community colleges was $5,172.

Reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541 473-3377.