Lone Star College chancellor says money will be set aside for students in need if tuition increases

HOUSTON, Texas -- Prior to discussions for the fiscal year 2022-23 budget, the Lone Star College System board of trustees heard a presentation regarding raising tuition rates for students.

During a March 3 budget retreat, LSCS Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Mott said the system will need to prepare for at least a 6.6% increase in expenditures due to inflation.

Mott said there are three main factors for revenue at LSCS: local taxes, tuition and fees, and state allocations.

"For tuition, we are recommending a 6.6% increase in in-district tuition, matching that inflation rate," Mott said. "This is $6 per credit hour."

Mott said out-of-district, out-of-state and international tuition rates would potentially increase by the same percentage, equaling $12 more per credit hour.

Information from Mott's presentation stated the average tuition increase would be around $48 per semester for a student.

Between the tuition and fees increases, as well as projected property value growth, Mott said the total increased new revenue would be around $16.5 million, or a 4.1% increase compared to fiscal year 2021-22.

LSCS Chancellor Stephen Head said those anticipated to be the most affected by the change would be students in families that make $50,000-$60,000 annually.

"When the cost of education goes up, the amount of [Federal] Pell Grants also goes up," Head said. "We will set aside money for the students that need help."

Head added there were previous plans to increase tuition, but those were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"There is a tuition increase that previously the board had approved that we never followed through on because of COVID[-19] hitting," Mott said.

Student enrollment information from a March 8 LSCS board of trustees meeting shows the student population has decreased by around 8.1% from fall 2019 through fall 2021, though it is still the largest community college in the state of Texas with 72,090 students reported at the time.

No actions were taken on the proposed increase as the agenda item was for discussion only. The LSCS budget will be presented to the board of trustees for final approval in August.

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