You’re going to have to dig a little deeper into your pocket if you attend Erie Community College next year.
Tuition at ECC will increase $95 next year to $3,995, college officials said Tuesday.
Shrinking enrollment is a big part of the increase.
In recent years, rising enrollment at the two-year school generated more tuition revenue and aid from the state, which funds community colleges based on the number of full-time equivalent students.
But over the past two years, full-time enrollment has declined from a high of 13,650 in 2010-11 to 12,500 this year – an 8.4 percent drop.
That equates to about a $2.5 million reduction in revenue.
“One of the things that hurts us is the declining enrollment, there’s no question,” said ECC President Jack F. Quinn Jr. “It’s tough.”
Higher education is seeing smaller numbers of students coming out of high school, a demographic trend projected to continue across the United States for the next several years, particularly in the Northeast.
“High school graduation rates are decreasing, and we’re in an extremely competitive marketplace,” said William D. Reuter, chief administrative and financial officer.
The tuition increase came Tuesday with the board of trustees approving a $111.4 million budget for 2013-14, up less than a half percent from this year’s spending plan.
The college started the budget process with a $8.4 million shortfall, due to the declining revenue from enrollment, along with sharp increases in employee health care and pension costs, Reuter said.
The college was able to close the gap thanks to the tuition increase – which will generate more than $1.1 million – and $3.5 million from the college’s reserves, Reuter said.
The college also expects nearly $2 million more in aid from the state, which boosted its reimbursement rate by $150 to $2,422 per full-time equivalent student, he said.
Still, students are being asked to pick up more and more of the financial burden.
Tuition has jumped 38 percent, or $1,095, in the past eight years.
That includes a tuition hike of $300 this year; $300 in 2011-12; $113 in 2009-10; $200 in 2008-09; and $87 in 2006-07.
Next year’s tuition of $3,995 ranks ECC’s price as the 15th highest among New York’s 30 community colleges, according to a recent survey of the two-year state schools.
The highest tuition is $4,474 at Sullivan County Community College, while the lowest is $3,200 at Dutchess County Community College.