Brookdale Community College board OKs tuition increase

The Brookdale Community College board of trustees voted on Jan. 29 to approve a 3.4 percent tuition increase at the college for the 2015-16 school year. For a full-time student taking 30 credits per year, the change would mean an increase of nearly $149.

The $4-per-credit increase, effective on July 1, will pair with a college-wide reorganization plan to reduce expenses, increase revenues and streamline the college experience for students, according to a press release.

As of July 1, tuition at Brookdale will increase from $118.75 to $122.75 per credit. Fees, which are calculated at 24 percent of tuition, will increase from $28.50 per credit to $29.46 per credit.

Tuition at Brookdale has risen 0.2 percent since 2010, when it was set at $118.50 per credit. Tuition was lowered to $115.50 per credit following the economic recession in 2012 and 2013, and restored to $118.75 in 2014, according to the press release.

“Across the country, college like ours are dealing with a wide range of financial challenges,” Brookdale President Maureen Murphy said. “We understand the impact any size tuition increase can have on our students, which is why we have worked diligently to keep tuition affordable. However, we must also ensure that we continue to provide the same high-quality education we always have. These changes will allow us to do that.”

College enrollment has decreased by about 13 percent since 2011. Over the same time frame, county and state funding to Brookdale has decreased by $9.4 million and $393,000, respectively. College officials project an additional reduction in state funding for the 2015-16 school year, according to the press release.

“We have cut millions of dollars in spending over the last few years, and we will continue to engage the campus community to find new revenue streams and cost-saving opportunities,” Murphy said.

This year, Brookdale is rolling out a comprehensive reorganization plan that will create new, more streamlined academic and student service divisions. The redesigned departments will eliminate redundancies and provide clearer pathways to degree completion and the workforce. The reorganization and the tuition increase will help close a budget deficit that has required the college to use millions of dollars in reserve funds in each of the last three years, according to the press release.