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Greenfield Community College to incerease some program fees

The board of trustees approved some program fee increases on Wednesday and gave President Robert Pura the authority to raise general fees if state funding comes in lower than officials hope.

Program fees will go up as much as $500 a year, and general fees could increase to as much as $10 per credit, resulting in students paying nearly $250 more each year.

Pura stressed that no one at GCC wants to raise fees and he hopes the state Legislature will increase its allocation to community colleges for a second straight year. The college needs to find some way to bring in more revenue to meet rising costs, he said.

The state allocation, which was $9.7 million last year, usually is between 40 percent and 50 percent of the college’s revenue. Gov. Deval Patrick’s budget and the House’s budget gave an additional $315,000 to GCC plus money to cover faculty raises. The only increases in the Senate’s budget would be to cover the raises.

Trustees rejected a proposed “science lab course” fee that would have added $20 per course, arguing that the fees would discourage participation in the science fields.

School officials had proposed the fee to raise $28,000 for new science equipment. Trustees said they would prefer a $1 fee increase for every credit across the board (about $3 per course) rather than the $20 science course fee.

Students currently pay $170.50 per credit, and these general fees could increase anywhere from $1 to $10 more per credit.

The trustees also increased fees for four programs and added two new ones, which will bring in just over $100,000 in additional revenue next year.

Pura said that the college has held off raising fees on these programs for years, but is now forced to increase them to the level that many other colleges charge.

The associate degree in nursing program will increase by $500 to $2,000 per year (a 33 percent hike). The licensed practical nurse program will increase by $250 to $1,050 per year (31.25 percent).

The outdoor leadership program will increase by $500 to $2,500 per year (25 percent). The five-semester emergency medical services program will increase by $150 to $1,550 (10.7 percent).

The two new fees will apply to digital recording music courses ($20 per course) and online/distance education courses ($10 per credit).

The fee votes were all unanimous, except for the rejection of the science course fee. Trustee Patricia Crosby, the executive director of the Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, said that $20 for science lab equipment was a reasonable request.

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