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Local News

Joliet Junior College board approves 7-1 for tuition increase

Joliet Junior College President Judy Mitchell (center) sits with the Board of Trustees Tuesday at JJC.
Joliet Junior College President Judy Mitchell (center) sits with the Board of Trustees Tuesday at JJC.

JOLIET – The Joliet Junior College board approved a student tuition increase of $19 that also will include differential tuition – or additional tuition rate – charged to classes in certain academic programs. 

The board approved in a 7-1 vote Tuesday an increase that goes in effect next fall semester and will bring student tuition at JJC up to $144 per credit hour. Trustee Alicia Morales voted against the increase. 

The increase will also include differential tuition for the upcoming school year applied to 100-level classes in culinary arts; automotive service; electrical and electronic automated systems; and welding and metal fabrication. 

In the following year, differential tuition will apply to 100- and 200-level classes in those programs.

Robert Galick, administrative services vice president, said to board trustees that differential tuition would result in “1.5 times the rate of tuition as all the other programs.”

Galick said $16 of the $19 tuition increase is because of the absence of state funding. College official have proposed increasing the tuition under the assumption JJC will receive only 50 percent of state funding because of the ongoing state budget crisis. 

“This is intended to be a one-year stopgap for us to be able to overcome what is happening in Springfield,” Galick said.

JJC trustees blamed the state for having to increase the tuition to cover a budget deficit for the next fiscal year that is projected to be $4.4 million. The $19 tuition increase will net the college $4.1 million in new revenue. Differential tuition would provide $312,000. 

“We’re not here because of ourselves. This is the state. I want to make this completely clear to our public. This is a state funding issue,” said Andrew Mihelich, board vice chairman.

In one chart Galick presented to the board, the amount of state funding was shown to be about 5 percent of total revenue, compared with property taxes which is about 58 percent. Tuition makes up about 34 percent of revenue.

Trustee Patricia Deiters said regardless of the state politicians people support, she thought they were not working for “our benefit at this point.” She said JJC is a great institution with great staff and facilities. 

“It makes me angry we have to do this,” she said.

Morales, who voted against the increase, said JJC officials need to keep the college affordable while delivering a high-quality education for all students, including those who are disadvantaged.

She implored the college to do more to increase enrollment, as well as visibility in minority communities. 

“I wish a survey would’ve been done for the nontraditional students. ... And I don’t know that enough was done to reach out to them and see if they understand it or if they support it,” Morales said.

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