CHEYENNE, Wyoming — Students attending Wyoming's seven community colleges will not see their tuition increased next year.
The Wyoming Community College Commission voted 6-1 Thursday to keep the current tuition rates for 2015.
The decision comes a week after the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees voted to raise tuition by 5 percent next year.
Commissioner Sherri Lovercheck said it was important that the community colleges hold the line on tuition.
"It's affordable, but many, many, many of our students are working full-time, and every single member of the commission has examples of students who are not able to continue because of the cost," Lovercheck said.
But commissioner Charlene Bodine voted against the measure, and commissioner Wendy Sweeny said she was bothered by the decision but would support it for a year.
"I'm really struggling with not doing something to show the legislators that we're doing something to take care of our own," Sweeny said.
Bodine said the degrees students get from the state community colleges are valuable and that it would be better to keep raising tuition slowly by small amounts than to have a large increase.
But several commissioners said one reason for the decision is to allow time for a study of ways to make completing an associate degree more attractive, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/1xbw0yD).
The study would look at programs like offering a consistent tuition level to students who maintain a certain level of credit hours each semester, Wyoming Community College Commission Executive Director Jim Rose said.
"The recommendation to not raise tuition is in part a reflection that we can develop this and develop a policy that indicates your support for completion," he said.
The commission also had received a recommendation to keep rates the same that came from several places, including several community college presidents, Rose said.
He added that the recommendation not to increase tuition for next year should not be seen as saying that faculty and staff at the state's community colleges don't need better compensation.
Decisions on raising tuition at the community college level are based on facts like median household income and how the state compares to other, similar states, Rose said.
Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, http://www.wyomingnews.com
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