Reduced book fees lower overall increase to $1/credit

The Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees held a regularly scheduled work session and meeting via Zoom on Jan. 26, 2021.

Trustees voted unanimously to increase tuition for 2021-22 by $5 per credit hour, for all categories except non-resident students, who will see no tuition increase. With lower fees for the college’s Learning Materials Program (textbooks and other materials, discussed further below), the actual net increase in the costs of tuition and books is only $1 per credit hour, trustees heard.

In its third year, the CMC Learning Materials Program provides books and other learning materials for students for a standard per-credit fee. The board’s action reduced the LMP fee by $4, from $29 per credit hour to $25 per credit hour.

Tuition rates for 2021-22 will be $90/credit for in-district students, $180/credit for service-area students, $190/credit for in-state students and $466/credit for non-resident students. Though other colleges have not yet announced their tuition rates for next year, CMC administrators expect that the college will continue to have among the most affordable tuition and fees in the state and the nation.

Additionally, the board voted to approve several tuition discounts. One such discount is to encourage older students, those aged 23 and older, to take more credits and therefore increase their likelihood of finishing a degree or certificate. In this program, in-district adult students enrolled in 12 credit hours or more would receive six of those credit hours for free, after completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This scholarship follows a precedent set by the highly successful President’s Scholarship, which grants $1,000 to graduating high school seniors after they complete a FAFSA.

The board also approved a new discount program designed to recruit and retain CMC students to work in local businesses, thereby aiding the economic recovery and long-term economic health of our region. The “learn like a local” program allows non-resident and in-state students to benefit from in-district tuition rates, which will be paid by local employers, in return for agreeing to work a regular workload or accept a job upon graduation. This is a modification to the existing District Employer Sponsored Rate.

Housing greatest cost for students

Planning ahead for the 2021-22 budget, college leadership is focused on maintaining ongoing operating costs at or below inflation (roughly 3%). The college is also embarking on a significant initiative to bring additional housing opportunities to a region where housing prices increased faster than inflation in 2020. Housing is one of the greatest costs of attending college for those living within the CMC footprint.

Trustees voted to introduce or increase course-specific fees in automotive service technology, environmental science, phlebotomy, introduction to clinical skills, product design, and career and professional skills in sustainability. In addition, they approved introducing or increasing instructional program fees in action sports business, ski and snowboard business, digital media, graphic design and professional photography.

Trustees approved an increase in student fees at CMC Steamboat Springs, which was introduced by student government and approved by 90.1% of students voting on that campus. The Steamboat Student Government Association requested that the fee structure change to a flat rate, with a net increase of $15 for full-time students, thus providing more funding for sponsored events, and for health and wellness opportunities. Student fees at Spring Valley and Leadville, the college’s other residential campuses, remain the same as 2020-21.

Trustees also increased room (housing) and board rates by 4.9% and 3.6%, respectively.  However, CMC management reported that the proposed room rate is a “not to exceed” rate that may be adjusted downward to encourage students to return to campus in fall 2021.

On third and final reading, trustees unanimously approved a lease on the Leadville campus, with Charter (formerly Bresnan) Communications. This is for a long-term lease of a cell tower, which had previously been leased on a month-to-month basis.

Trustees adopted the following:

  • Second quarter 2020-21 financials
  • Locations for posting notices of meetings of the CMC Board of Trustees
  • The spring sabbatical report
  • Changes to board policy 6.11, clarifying expectations of work hours for exempt employees.

In the work session trustees discussed budget and tuition planning, as well as strategic housing investments.