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WCC Trustees Give Tuition Breaks to Everyone

Washtenaw Community College announced this week that it will not raise tuition for in-district students. The in-person tuition rate will remain $99 per credit hour, as long as no one counts the $15 per credit hour “infrastructure” fee. A WCC student who enrolls for a 15-credit semester will pay $1,710 in tuition and fees.

The WCC Board of Trustees approved a token increase to out-of-district online students. According to a WCC press release:

“Affordability is key in our commitment to making college accessible for all. We are thankful to be able to offer this tuition freeze, which is in large part due to the community‚Äôs generous support of the college,” said WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca.

The Trustees have extended our “generosity” to any student who enrolls in any WCC classes regardless of where they live in the world. That still leaves open the question of why the WCC Trustees believe that Washtenaw County taxpayers should subsidize the cost of tuition for everyone everywhere with no apparent benefit to Washtenaw County.

That’s clearly well outside the mission of the college, and Washtenaw County voters must address this issue at the ballot box. This appears to be part of the Administration’s Grand Plan to turn WCC into the next Eastern Gateway Community College.

Washtenaw County voters haven’t agreed to pay for a lot of things that the WCC Board of Trustees has approved in the last three decades, but I sincerely doubt that the taxpayers intended for their $70M+ annual tax collection to finance WCC’s conversion into a national online college degree vending machine.

That hasn’t worked out very well for Eastern Gateway Community College, and it won’t work out well for WCC.

WCC is poised to become the next EGCC

To update you, the Jefferson County (OH) Commissioners have hired outside counsel to research exactly what costs they’ll pay when EGCC closes its doors in June. That includes tens of millions in EGCC’s unpaid bonds and bond interest, some of which expire in 2050.

Last month, EGCC terminated its entire faculty; the teachers will all be unemployed when their contract expires this summer. YSU has hired some EGCC faculty members, but at only a fraction of their previous salaries. EGCC will simply let the non-union staff go when their time comes.

The State of Ohio recently sauced EGCC $3M to help the school cover its bills through June 30, in addition to a similar $6M “advance” earlier this year.

And questions are piling up, like:

  • What happens to the millage that’s meant to finance local student attendance at EGCC?
  • What happens to the county-owned land the college sits on?
  • Who will pay EGCC’s $50M unfunded pension liabilities?
  • Who will pay a potential $23M judgment against EGCC, should its former OPM prevail in pending litigation?
  • Can Jefferson County start over and rebuild its community college?
  • Will any current or former EGCC administrators face federal and/or state criminal charges for this? And if not, why not?
  • Where did all the money go?

Seriously, is this really the path that the taxpayers of Washtenaw County want WCC to follow? (Because this is the path the WCC Administration is actively pursuing.)

If Washtenaw County taxpayers want WCC to continue to serve the needs of WASHTENAW COUNTY, we need to put a stop to this cock-and-bull circus by voting the current WCC Trustees off the board.

Photo Credit: Martha Soukup , via Flickr