Fee increases strike again

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By Michael Fortier

By Michael Fortier

For the second consecutive year the California community colleges have undergone a fee increase due to the state’s ongoing budget crisis. The budget, approved by the state legislature and Gov. Schwarzenegger increases the enrollment fee from $18 to $26 per unit.

Riverside Community College prepared for the increase by informing students through a variety of methods. The increased enrollment fee went into effect Aug. 16.

“We put a message on Tiger Talk, the Web, signs on campus and on the bottom of receipts that the fees would probably increase to $26 per unit,” said Lorraine Anderson, director of Admissions and Records. There was also a notice in the fall 2004 schedule of classes.

New statements billing students for the additional amount were then mailed out the following week.

“We’re trying to make it as lenient as possible before we start dropping students,” said Linda Lacy, vice president of Student Services.

“We’re giving students until Sept. 8 to pay,” Anderson said. “Students will be dropped from their classes if they don’t pay by Sept. 8.”

The increase in the middle of the registration period has caused problems for the Admissions and Records office.

“We had this problem last year when it went to $18, but we had only registered about 8,000 students,” Lacy said. “We had registered about 20,000 students when it was increased this year.”

Admissions and Records had to reconfigure their computers for $26 and then deal with the increase of students coming back to the office.

“There will probably be longer lines at the Admissions Office because of students coming back to pay their additional fees by check or money order,” Anderson said. “It’s easiest if students pay by credit card on Tiger Talk.”

RCC students have to deal with the strain the fee increase and the inconvenience of being re-billed for their classes for the additional amounts.

“It sucks. It’s gone up for two years in a row now,” RCC student Daniel Guy said. “I have other bills to worry about and school is getting too hard to pay for.”

RCC student Jason Joseph said he had a problem with students being mailed statements for additional amounts after originally paying for classes.

“I hate that they started charging one rate and then changed it. Then you have to give them more money later,” he said. “I wish we could know the price before we started registering for classes.”

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