OLYMPIA -- Tuition increases at Columbia Basin College and Washington State University could be decided in May.
CBC and WSU students could face the tuition increase during the 2012-13 school year, depending on decisions made by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges and the WSU Board of Regents.
The WSU board will vote on tuition increases for its students during meetings on May 3-4 in Pullman. The state board could vote to increase tuition for technical and community colleges as soon as May 9 during a meeting at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake.
If the boards approve the increases, tuition for a full-time student will increase more than $1,500 at WSU, totaling $12,374, and $471 at CBC, totaling $4,401.
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In 2011, lawmakers gave the boards the authority to raise tuition -- within limits -- to make up for cuts to higher education in the 2011-2013 budget.
But board members could decide to increase tuition less, or not at all, said state board spokeswoman Laura McDowell.
"(The state board) can do anything from 0 to 12, but they haven't done an in-depth discussion yet," McDowell said.
Associated Students of CBC President Yesenia Lazaro was less optimistic. "Obviously there will be an increase in tuition," she told the Herald.
Lazaro may have no direct influence on tuition prices, but she and other students at CBC have taken actions to help in any way they can.
For example, the Service and Activities Board will not increase mandatory fees to students next year, she said.
The current S&A fee is $7.10 per credit hour, to a maximum of $71 per quarter.
While students prepare for the potential tuition increase, administrators from WSU and CBC said they are counting on them.
Joan King, WSU associate vice president, told the Herald if the WSU board does not increase tuition, the university will have to make more cuts.
CBC President Rich Cummins told the Herald his college faces the same situation.
Yet, even with the tuition increase, both schools will have to make cuts.
Tuition increases have made up for only 20 percent of cuts to state funding for CBC, said Bill Saraceno, senior vice president for administrative services for CBC.
* Eric Francavilla, a Herald intern from Washington State University, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.