JCJC’s fall tuition increases caused by external economic factors

Written By: Teresa Martin
Email Address: teresa.martin@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2013-06-27 13:31:38

ELLISVILLE – As more people continue to struggle economically, fewer people are signing up for college classes statewide according to the Mississippi Community College Board’s newest enrollment figures, forcing tuition to increase at most of the state’s colleges. Students will see a tuition increase of $121 a semester to $1245 a semester at Jones County Junior College. The $116 in semester fees will remain the same, according to Executive Director of Marketing, Finée’ Ruffin.
“Ten other community colleges in the state will also be raising tuition mostly because the number of students attending colleges is dwindling. The average tuition increase at community colleges will be at least 6 percent this fall. As MCCB Executive Director stated, ‘increasing tuition is necessary to ease the financial burden on the colleges.’”
Some of the factors effecting enrollment include the new restrictions on federal Pell Grants. Fewer people are receiving grant money as a result. A study conducted by the University of Alabama estimated about 3,000 students statewide were denied Pell Grants which is a source of revenue for colleges.  The continual increases in gas have also prevented some students from getting to college campuses, as well as an increase in the need to obtain multiple jobs to maintain the inflation of prices for the basic necessities.
“We are committed to the community and we want everyone to have the opportunity to get an education and we understand that an additional $100 may deter some from getting a higher education. It’s a hard economic time for everyone and we have to make uncomfortable and very hard decisions in order to be good stewards of college operations,” Ruffin explained.
She added enrollment figures determine how many teachers and support staff are needed to keep the college running and providing necessary student services. As the cost of running a college continues to rise, and without funding from the state or other sources, college administrators are forced to increase tuition. 
Despite economic woes, Mississippi’s Community Colleges are still the place more students choose compared to the states eight public universities. Ruffin said that’s mostly because students can receive a quality education in their own community and a degree for a lot less than a four year university. 
“We are searching for grants and partnerships and we are trying to help students overcome barriers to education even though that search has become more difficult,” said JCJC President, Dr. Jesse Smith. He added, “I am optimistic JCJC’s faculty and staff will continue to deliver quality instruction and training regardless of the economic situation.”
In an effort to ensure our rural population has access to a quality and affordable education, JCJC has opened Centers in Bay Springs, Leakesville and Waynesboro helping lower costs for students commuting. Clarke County Supervisors are making plans to open a Center in Quitman with JCJC providing educational services. Qualifying students in Greene and Jasper Counties also have tuition paid through the County Supervisors as part of the Tuition Guarantee Program. Another cost saving measure implemented by Jones for the second year, is the 10 percent rebate for students paying tuition by August first. Jones is also one of the only Community Colleges that offer monthly tuition payment plans. For more information about Jones County Junior College or its degree offerings, call 601-477-4000 or check the web at www.jcjc.edu.


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