City Colleges of Chicago has walked back a proposal to increase tuition at its seven colleges.
College leaders were planning to ask its board of trustees at their monthly meeting Thursday to approve a two percent tuition hike every year for the next four years, according to an internal presentation first reported by WBEZ.
According to the presentation, the proposal would increase tuition for full-time in-district students by $36 a semester every year or $144 by 2023. At that time, a full course load would cost about $1,900 per semester.
But the community college system now says it is no longer considering the hike. At Thursday’s meeting, Chancellor Juan Salgado said he wants to gather more feedback before making any changes and directed staff to broaden the groups of people involved in this conversation.
The administration was considering the increase to address declining state funds, rising health and labor costs, and large drop in enrollment. Last month, City Colleges ratified a new contract that includes a three percent salary increase for full-time faculty. Enrollment has dropped 30 percent since 2010.
City Colleges’ reserves were depleted during the recent state budget impasse when it didn’t get state funds, dropping by $59 million in 2017 to cover an operating deficit. Salgado has said one of his goals is to increase those reserves. Last year, City Colleges sold its downtown district office to help rebuild its rainy day fund. The system also is developing an enrollment management plan to address the decline in students.
The proposed tuition increase was smaller than the tuition hike in 2015. Then, full-time tuition jumped from $1,068 to $1,753. Last year, the system rolled back changes that primarily hurt part-time students, who make up a large portion of the students.