Sunday, July 22 , 2018, 1:25 am | Fair 67º


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Santa Barbara City College Trustees Raise Tuition Fees for Out-of-State, International Students

Facing $9 million deficit, college leaders back fee increase; board also affirms commitment to protect undocumented students

The Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees has approved a $24 increase in the tuition fees paid by nonresident students. Among those at last week’s board meeting were, from left, SBC Superintendent-President Anthony Beebe, board president Marsha Croninger, and trustees Jonathan Abboud and Peter  Haslund. Click to view larger
The Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees has approved a $24 increase in the tuition fees paid by nonresident students. Among those at last week’s board meeting were, from left, SBC Superintendent-President Anthony Beebe, board president Marsha Croninger, and trustees Jonathan Abboud and Peter Haslund. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Starting with the 2017 fall semester, out-of-state and international students at Santa Barbara City College will see higher tuition fees.

The SBCC Board of Trustees on Thursday approved a $24 per semester unit tuition hike for its nonresident students — the first increase since the 2015-2016 school year.

The board, voting 7-1 with student trustee Emily Gribble dissenting, approved a total tuition fee of $285 per semester unit.​

“It’s unfortunate we have to raise the price of anything,” trustee Craig Nielsen said.

According to the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, the decision falls under an option that will raise the cost “no greater than the 2015-16 average nonresident tuition fee of public community colleges in a minimum of 12 states comparable to California in cost of living.”

Marsha Croninger, SBCC’s board president, noted the college’s projected deficit.

“The ways we have to bridge a $9 million gap are not pleasant,” she said. “We have a substantial ongoing budget deficit we are struggling with in many directions.”

During the meeting, some trustees suggested postponing the fee increase decision, but action had to be taken immediately.

Each year, the community college board must set nonresident fees no later than Feb.1, as mandated under state Education Code Section 76140.

“We are up against the deadline,” SBCC Superintendent-President Anthony Beebe said. “We have to start making some tough decisions.”

Gribble, an out-of-state student, voiced concern for her classmates.

“This is the difference between being a full-time student and taking on a second job,” she said. “If we keep putting this pressure on the out-of-state students, we are going to lose them.”

Gribble mentioned that the SBCC Foundation is offering eligible local students the opportunity to attend the college full time and tuition-free for two years through the SBCC Promise program.

Trustee Jonathan Abboud suggested the foundation consider looking into scholarship options to help out-of-state and international students.

“It’s just a suggestion,” he said. “When we increase the cost, it makes the out-of-state population less diverse.”

On Thursday, the eight-member board pledged to welcome and support students from all backgrounds and immigration status.

The trustees unanimously approved a resolution that ensures all students have an opportunity to receive an education in the community college system.

The board was in favor of including “sexual orientation” to the populations the SBCC district — which represents the South Coast region of Carpinteria to Goleta — is committed to supporting.

The district vowed to “not release any personally identifiable student information related to immigration status without a judicial warrant, subpoena or court order, unless authorized by the student or required by law,” according to the resolution.

The resolution followed a handful of public comments from students, staff and others.

“The undocumented are currently feeling fear, uncertainty and stress,” one speaker said.

This resolution joins mirroring statements from the leadership of the University of California and California State University systems, as well as California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Oakley.

Santa Barbara Police Chief Lori Luhnow and the Santa Barbara Unified School District have also made similar commitments.

Some SBCC trustees noted the resolution reaffirms the college’s existing commitment to support all of its students.

Nielsen offered words of encouragement to the crowd of more than 40.

“It boils down to this — have a little faith,” he said. “Have a little faith and concentrate on your studies. Work hard and stay focused.”

The room filled with a thunderous applause after the board’s discussion.

“We are all in this together,” trustee Marty Blum said.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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