September 10-- The cost of attending Southeastern Technical College and the state's other 24 technical schools is going up about 13 percent in January.
The board that runs the system is increasing tuition ten dollars per credit hour which translates to a $150 hike for a full 15-hour course load. It's also adding a $50 fee per semester with another $50 increase for online courses scheduled to start next Fall. Officials say that pushes the average total cost of attendance, including books, to nearly $2,000 per semester.
The President of Southeastern Tech, Dr. Cathy Mitchell, says it's a move that had to be made.
"We can't afford to operate if we don't do that. Our state funding has decreased so much that if we're going to continue, we're going to have to go up. This gets it more in line with other two-year Board of Regents colleges in the state and, even then, we're still lower than other schools in the southern region of the country," she notes.
Dr. Mitchell says financial assistance in various forms is available to STC students.
"Ninety percent of our students get the HOPE scholarship and that pays for about half of our tuition fees. About 65 percent get Pell Grants which don't have to be paid back and then we also offer student loans and our STC Foundation helps any way they can with scholarships," she says.
The bottom line for students, according to Dr. Mitchell, is where there's a will there's a way.
"I think for the students who really want to go, we will find a way to help them. If a student really wants to go, I don't think the cost will deter them, I really don't," she observes.