College Can't Make Up Shortfall With Tuition Increases

As the Northern Wyoming Community College District, which includes Sheridan College, looks at a $1.8 million deficit over the next two years, one suggestion that's surfaced has been to raise tuition.

But College President Dr. Paul Young says that isn't feasible.

In fact, as Trustees Chairwoman Norleen Healy said in the college board's meeting this week, the tuition for all seven of Wyoming's community colleges is set by the Wyoming Community College Commission.

The problem for the state's community colleges and the University of Wyoming this year is that the state has cut $20 million in funds from the community colleges, and $35 million from the university. For the Northern Wyoming Community College District, the cut is $1.8 million during the next two years. Young said the district gets 60 percent of its funding from the state.

What the district has done is cut five staff positions, four at Sheridan College and one from Gillette College, and left other, vacant, positions unfilled.

In addition to state funds and tuitions and other fees, the district also receives local funds from a 4-mill tax levy. But he said that generates only about $2 million a year.