HCC trustees freeze student fees for next academic year

  • Holyoke Community College.

Staff Writer
Published: 4/29/2021 5:50:52 PM

HOLYOKE — Student fees will remain frozen for the next academic year at Holyoke Community College, the board of trustees decided Tuesday.

The unanimous vote will freeze an educational service fee, which comes in at $188 per academic credit, and a $145-per-semester student service fee. For each of the past five years, the college has increased these fees by about 5% annually.

The board’s decision to freeze the fees is part of the college’s ongoing efforts to accommodate students experiencing financial hardships due to the pandemic, according to college President Christina Royal.

“We recognize that students are dealing with so many elements of this pandemic, including financial challenges,” Royal said, “and so we wanted to be able to really help to help support them by holding fees constant for a year and be able to allow them to really focus on continuing their learning.”

The college’s tuition cost has remained frozen at $24 per academic credit for over a decade. The state sets this tuition rate for all community colleges in Massachusetts.

When asked if the college will consider implementing this freeze in future years, Royal said HCC officials “revisit the fees every year we have conversations to assess the current landscape.”

“It’s sometimes balancing the cost of education in terms of what we get for state appropriation and what our fee schedule is for students, as well as other types of financial support we get for students,” she said.

Narayan Sampath, vice president of administration and finance and a member of the audit and finance committees, said in a statement that he will have a balanced budget prepared for the board in June despite the freeze.

State and federal stimulus funding has assisted the college in being able to enact this freeze, according to Royal. HCC has received $706,000 in state aid and $11.5 million in federal funding.

This funding also has enabled the college to provide all students enrolled in the fall and spring semesters with $550 block grants, which will likely be available again in the fall.

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.

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