- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Leaders of Arkansas’ largest community college have approved a 16 percent tuition hike.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1afwjUU ) reports Pulaski Technical College’s board of trustees on Monday approved the increase, which will begin July 1.

A student taking 15 credit hours currently pays about $2,000 in tuition and mandatory fees each semester. Under the new plan, that student will now pay about $2,325.

“This is always a difficult time for me when we have discussions about increasing tuition,” said board Chairman Robert Dedman. “I think none of us ever want to increase tuition.”

The increase comes as the school faces declining enrollment and, subsequently, declining tuition and fee revenue. Tuition and fees represent about 70 percent of the school’s revenue.

“We want to keep (tuition) as it is or reduce it, but I think that’s not a reality here,” Dedman said. “We need to take care of ourselves financially because we’re not going to get any help from anybody else.”

Administrators have been working to increase enrollment and revenue by reviewing course programs, taking steps to refinance bonds and expanding marketing strategies.

Pulaski Tech President Margaret Ellibee said the increase was “fair and balanced” for the students because it can be paid by loans or by federal Pell grants, which assist undergraduates of low-income families and do not have to be repaid.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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