Share This Page

Students say tuition hike could put CCAC out of reach

Faced with a steep increase in tuition and fees this spring, scores of students from Allegheny County Community College brought their concerns to county council on Thursday night.

"The increase puts an undue burden on working-class families, on people who are already struggling to survive while working toward a better future," said Angela Elliston, 28, of Lawrenceville, who is raising her two children while she works and goes to school.

Elliston and other students involved in the college's student government spoke at a news conference prior to county council's scheduled budget hearing.

In September, the college's board of trustees unanimously approved increasing tuition this spring for the school's 30,000 students to make up for a $2.5 million loss in subsidies from the county.

The hike -- the second since May -- boosts tuition for the spring semester by 9.5 percent. Technology fees will go up 33.3 percent per credit, and the student services fees will double.

In May, CCAC increased tuition 2.3 percent, raised the technology fee 12.5 percent and added a $1 per credit services fee.

Some students fear that the costs could put college out of reach.

"I'm studying law, so I'm looking at seven years of college," said Mali'sa Branch, 19, a freshman from Forest Hills, who is working to pay her tuition. "I saw community college as the smart choice to avoid getting too deep into debt."

Councilman Matt Drozd, R-Ross, said CCAC should look for ways to reduce its expenses -- especially administrative costs -- and work to increase revenue through fund-raising. He also believes the state should reconsider taxing Marcellus shale drilling as a way to deal with a variety of budget woes.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.