Clark State Community College wants to raise its tuition. Katherine Collins/Staff

Clark State wants to raise tuition for the first time in 3 years

Clark State Community College will increase tuition $10 per credit hour beginning in the fall, pending approval of lawmakers and the governor.

The increase was approved by the college’s board of trustees Tuesday night and will be the first since a statewide three-year freeze on tuition.

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The school had froze its tuition ahead of the state mandate locking it in 2015. It also implemented a tuition challenge in which students could save between 5 and 10 percent based on their academic performance and the number of credit hours they enrolled in.

The increase is contingent on the passage of House Bill 49 and approval by Gov. John Kasich.

Clark State is operating in the black and is fiscally sound, according to John Devillier, vice president of business affairs for Clark State Community College. However, the institution would like to make improvements to help its students.

The additional money will benefit students through hiring additional faculty and advisers, he said, as well as upgrades to security and technology.

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“It’s solely focused on the student,” he said. “So it’s going to be security, safety, efficiencies with information technology. It’s going to hire additional faculty in some programs.”

Students will see their bill increase by an average of $160 a year, depending on how many credits they take. Clark State’s tuition will go from about $139 to about $149 a credit and will remain one of the lowest costs for higher education in Ohio.

About 6,500 students are on Clark State’s three campuses.

Students will see and feel an immediate impact with the improvements, Devillier said.

It’s Leffel Lane campus in Springfield is in a dead spot of sorts and students and staff often experience problems with cell phone service and dropped calls.

The additional revenue would bring cell phone tower repeaters to campus, which would help second-year student Kennedy Coleman Harris.

“It’s patchy in areas. When I go down the stairs. I’ll lose complete service,” Harris said. “Then I have to wait until I walk a little farther in the building to pick it back up but then it’s still kind of patchy.”

The physical therapy assistant student chose the school because it’s local and she believed it’s a better, cheaper option than other institutions. She’s OK with the increase.

“I think with them boosting it up another $10, it’s going help where we were lacking a little bit,” Harris said.

That includes student advising services, she said.

“Knowing that we are going to get more, it will be a whole lot easier to go down there and come right back out,” Harris said.

The tuition hike isn’t a done deal. First state lawmakers must approve the bill and Kasich must sign it.

“The Board of Trustees for Clark State Community College approved it under the condition that the governor would sign it into law,” Devillier said.

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