GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Tuition is going up at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. The college board of trustees approved a 20 percent hike, beginning this fall.
This is the first tuition increase in four years at the community college. President Dr. Mary Graham says even with the higher tuition cost, MGCCC remains a "great value."
The tuition hike amounts to about $250 extra per student, per year.
"We have not had a tuition increase at Gulf Coast Community College for the last four years. Our philosophy is that we would rather not increase incrementally each year. We'd rather wait and do that on an as needed basis," said Graham at a Thursday morning news conference.
Much of the $2 million a year generated by the tuition hike will go toward $1,000 a year raises and cost of living hikes for all full-time college employees. Graham says attracting top faculty and employees is critical to the community college's ongoing success.
"We've remained in the top 10 percent of community colleges. There are over 1,400 community colleges throughout our nation, and we remain in the top 10 percent in terms of degrees offered and quality education. So, we're very proud of that," said Graham.
WLOX News talked with several students about this fall's tuition increase and asked them if MGCCC remains a great value.
"Yeah, cause there's a lot of stuff here. It's a really good program," said Kychera Lee.
"I love being here. They have a lot of good resources for us. I mean, it's really up to date," added Tamia Smith.
Jaclyn Fontenot also says MGCCC is a good value.
"Absolutely, I think it is. I mean, there are people who have problems paying for school, but there's the financial aid option," Fontenot said.
"If students really want to pursue a degree at Gulf Coast Community College, there's a strong possibility they can get some type of aid in the form of a scholarship or a grant or other opportunities at Gulf Coast," said Graham.
About 70 percent of the students at MGCCC rely on scholarships or financial aid to help pay for their tuition costs.