The Northern Marianas College Board of Regents voted yesterday to increase tuition for residents students by 35 percent starting in the fall semester of 2016, raising rates for the first time in almost 10 years after seeing a 40-percent drop in government appropriations for the college since 2003.
For fiscal year 2016, the college is appropriated $4.4 million. In fiscal 2015, they got $4.9 million. In 2003, the college was appropriated $8 million.
At $95 per credit, NMC is also the lowest in the region, compared to colleges in American Samoa, Palau Community College, University of Hawaii Community colleges, and Guam Community College, among others.
With the increase effective next school year, this rate will jump to $128.25 per credit.
The college has also approved an increase in mandatory fees for registration and new fees have been established.
Full-time students pay for 12 credits a school semester. With the increase, they’ll pay out a total of $1,539, not including fees and costs of school materials.
For fifteen credits, the college plans a “banded tuition rate,” meaning they will pay for those extra three credits with no additional cost.
Yesterday, voting in favor of the increase were regents Juan Lizama, Elizabeth Rechebei, Frank Rabauliman, Michaela Sanchez, and Malua Peter.
Cynthia Deleon Guerrero, a new regent on the board who was sworn in by Lt. Gov. Ralph Torres yesterday, abstained from voting.
The vote for a tuition hike follows discussions the college has been having since 2012.
In 2014 and 2015, students held forums on the proposed hikes in tuition and fees.