August 18, 2010
On August 5, the Civic Federation released its analysis of the FY2011 City Colleges Tentative Annual Operating budget. The Federation supports the District’s $581.9 million plan because it reduces its property tax levy while pursuing a reorganization plan that will centralize more administrative functions and increase programmatic specialization at its seven college campuses.
The District produced a balanced budget by using a combination of tuition increases and cost-saving measures. The Civic Federation believes the District’s increase in tuition costs is reasonable because it is linked to management reforms, cost containment strategies, quality improvements and the reduction of long-term liabilities. Increasing user fees, such as tuition, to offset rising costs is preferable to a general tax increase, since the revenue is sourced from those who are directly benefiting from the service.
For FY2011, the tuition rates for City Colleges will increase from $79 per credit hour to $87, a 10.1% increase. Fees for registration, activities and Center for Distance Learning courses will also increase in FY2011. Prior to last year’s 9.7% increase of $7.00 per credit hour, the District had not raised tuition since 2006 when it rose from $67 per credit hour to $72 per credit hour – a 7.5% jump. Below is a chart that illustrates how City Colleges’ tuition costs compares with other Chicagoland community colleges for the academic year starting in fall 2010:
In 2004, the Civic Federation did not support the City Colleges of Chicago’s FY2005 budget because it sought to increase revenue and spending without reining in costs. That year, the City Colleges approved a three-year staggered tuition increase. Tuition jumped from $52 to $62 per credit hour in 2004, to $67 per credit hour in 2005, and $72 per credit hour in 2006. Until the 2004 increase, City Colleges had one of the least expensive tuitions per credit hour of the Chicago-area community colleges. The chart below illustrates how City Colleges’ tuition rates compared to other local community college districts in fall of 2005:
While the cost of attending City Colleges has increased over the past several years, its cost relative to other local colleges remains competitive.
 City Colleges of Chicago FY2011 Annual Operating Budget, p. 55.