International & Non-Resident Students to Pay More in Tuition

Students who are not California residents should expect to pay a higher tuition starting in the fall of 2018.

A proposal to increase fees for nonresident and international students for the 2018-19 fiscal year was approved by the Board of Trustees of the State Center Community College District during the Jan. 9 meeting with a vote of 4-3.

For students who are not California residents, out-of-state tuition will go up by $24 next year, increasing the current cost of tuition from $234 to $258 per unit for enrolled students who are not California residents.

The $46 cost per unit for California residents registered in 12 units, will total about $552 in enrollment fees for the semester. For nonresident and international students registered in the same amount of units per semester, raising fees to $258 per unit means paying for the same amount of units would total an estimated $3,096.

According to the board agenda, the 4 percent increase of nonresident tuition fees is expected to generate approximately $2.3 million in the next school year.

John Leal, one of the three board members who voted against the increase, believes the raise in nonresident tuition should be sought through alternative means, and not straight out of students’ pockets.

“This is an increase which may negatively impact a student who had chosen community college as opposed to a state university, for those very reasons.” Leal said. “For that small number of people, for those students, we need to care about them as well.”

A raise in tuition for nonresident students could increase the financial burden many students already endure by struggling to pay for college.  Those with campus leadership positions add that increasing tuition might undermine efforts by the college leadership to raise the retention rates of international students on campus.

“With SCCCD hiking [prices] up, it would also put a freeze on students getting their classes because they will have to pay in advance – unlike our national students,” Chuck Rodriguez, a senator in the Associated Student Government, said.

Rodriguez, who is also a member of the ad-hoc committee for international students on campus, said approximately 90 international students are expected to be detrimentally impacted by the tuition increase.

While acknowledging that there are valid arguments to justify the tuition increase, especially since nonresident students don’t contribute to a local tax base, Trustee Leal said it is important to provide fair access to all foreign and out-of-state students.

“It’s not just tuition: it’s also book, transportation, food, in some cases clothing, lodging. All of those things factor in affordability for students,” Leal said. “As a former FCC student myself, I understand how difficult it is. Every chance we have, we should make it more affordable, not less.”