Operating Costs for GCC Boosts Non-Resident Tuition Fees

Christine Aghakhani
Special to El Vaquero

An increase in operating costs for the college such as faculty benefits and salaries and construction costs have raised the non-resident tuition fee for Fall 2001 from $120 to $130 a unit.

Non-resident students include international students and individuals who are not official residents of California. Residency is established after one year of the individual has established residency in California.

International students and non-resident students make up about 5.36 percent of the student body and are now expected to help pay for the expenses.

The Board of Trustees decided in a meeting in February to keep the fee to a minimum of $130 a unit. “We will hold it at the current rate for two years,” said Ron Nakasone, controller of the accounting department.

The previous fee of $120 a unit used to be the lowest among area colleges. Santa Monica College chargers $130 a unit, Pasadena City College charges $134 a unit and the Los Angeles City College District charges a total of $141 per unit.

According to the college demographics, enrollment for non-resident students was about eleven percent for all of last year. Nakasone believes this can be attributed to the two summer sessions.
The tuition increase may help cover college costs such as the construction of the new science building, and although non-resident enrollment may see a steady drop, David J. Nelson, director of International Recruitment and Outreach remains optimistic.

“To date, new international students are still registering for the fall semester,” said Nelson. “This past academic year GCC enrolled approximately 550 students on the F-1 visa category. The College also enrolled another 50 to 60 students on `Other’ visa categories. The International Office expects to have roughly 600 visa students enrolled at the college by the start of the semester,” he said.

Mariah Ribeiro, international student counselor said that 409 new and continuing international students have already registered for fall and that the department is expecting more students to register in the next few weeks. She is hopeful that the total number of students will exceed last year’s count of 530.

Many non-resident students who are affected by this decision feel it is unfair that their already high tuition must be increased to pay for college expenses. One student who requested anonymity said that he might consider taking a semester off to work to pay for his classes because he could not afford the increased cost.

“A couple of students have expressed disappointment in the tuition increase” said Ribeiro. “As their counselor, I sympathize with my students any time an increased cost results in possible economic hardship.”

However, I explain to them that it’s still a lot less than they would pay at a private university or at a CSU or UC campus.”