Tuition Increases for Non-Resident Students

Wendi L. Vaugh

Many GCC students have been shocked to discover that the college has increased the tuition for all non-residents of California, a decision that, starting in the fall, will have the greatest impact on international students.

Beginning in the fall, non-resident tuition will be raised from $120 to $130 per unit.

Not all non-resident students on campus are international students; students from other states also have to pay increased rates. The difference is that U.S. citizens are allowed to claim residency in California after living here for a year.

International students, however, are here on an F1 visa, which allows them to study in the U.S. but doesn’t permit them to establish residency.

Currently, international students pay $3,144 for classes alone. (This amount is based on 12 units for 2 semesters at $120 per unit, plus $11 per unit to cover other fees.) The potential $10 increase could raise that amount by several hundred dollars. Besides this, they must pay for already high living expenses.

“Many students are here from their country alone,” said a student who said she was afraid to be identified. “We don’t have rich families sending us money. We have to try and make it by ourselves and it isn’t easy.”

“[The fee of] $120 is below the state average,” said David Nelson, director of international recruitment and outreach. “I’ve been to other community colleges all over the nation. Students here are getting a pretty good deal.”

“Pasadena City College charges their non-residents $134 per unit,” said Larry Serot, vice president of administrative services.

“On top of that PCC also charges a $10 capital charge, because the state does not recognize the non-resident students when giving instructional supplies,” said Serot.

“Public education is paid by taxpayers’ money,” he added. “Property taxes, business taxes, or income taxes are all public money. Non-residents should not be able to benefit from this money.”

The state gives each college three options on how to set their non-resident tuition rates. The first is for the college to set its own rate. The second is to base the rate on the average state rate. The third is to base its rates on the average of its neighboring districts.

One way non-resident students can help pay for their education is through work-study.

GCC puts aside $100,000 for international students every year to be used for on-campus jobs. Students are hired based on need and other qualifications.

All of these monies have been used for this year, but students are continuing to work through