April 30, 2016

Partly sunny

LCCC freezes tuition

ELYRIA — Lorain County Community College officials on Thursday approved a two-year tuition freeze at the school, largely a result of Gov. Ted Strickland’s commitment to bolstering funds for higher education, LCCC President Roy Church said. 
The college’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the tuition freeze, locking in the current rate — about $2,200 a year for a full-time student — for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years.
“What were are seeing for the first time in over a decade is a reinvestment in higher education,” Church said of Strickland’s higher-education funding. “The increases are moderate, but they send a strong signal … that higher education is critical to the state’s economy.” 
On Wednesday, Strickland praised Ohio’s legislators for passing his budget proposal, which placed a strong emphasis on increasing funding for public colleges and universities.
Among Strickland’s goals: Enacting a two-year tuition freeze for all students attending Ohio’s public post-secondary schools. 
Schools like LCCC have yet to see the money trickle down — they’ll have to wait for the state to distribute the money — but the passage of Strickland’s budget has, as Church said, sent a strong signal.
“We expect to function effectively, even with the freeze,” Church said. “We hope this portends a long-term trend in Ohio to reinvest in human capital.”
The school’s current annual budget — including state funding and tuition revenue — is about $55 million.
LCCC currently charges $92.30 for a single credit hour, which means a full-time student pays $1,107.60 per semester. The college also offers “blanket tuition,” which means a full-time student enrolls for up to 18 credit hours while paying for only 13 credit hours, according to Marcia Ballinger, LCCC’s vice president of strategic development.
The college has about 11,000 full-time students and 3,000 part-time, and is among the top 15 fastest-growing community colleges in the nation, according to Ballinger. 
Church also said Thursday that LCCC received a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, which will allow the school to create a training and education center for welding technologies.
“This is a major, major development for us,” Church said. “This puts (LCCC) at the forefront of manufacturing technology.”
Contact Shawn Foucher at 329-7197 or sfoucher@chroniclet.com.