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Tuition to inch up for SPJC students

The college's board today is expected to approve a 4.8 percent increase per credit hour for in-state and out-of-state students.

By WILMA NORTON

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 16, 2000


Students at St. Petersburg Junior College can expect to pay a few more dollars for tuition, beginning in August.

The college's board of trustees today is poised to approve a 4.8 percent increase per credit hour for in-state and out-of-state students.

For students from Florida, the fee rises to $50.38, up $2.32 from $48.06 per hour. For out-of-state students, the fee goes to $186.34, an increase of $8.54 from $177.80.

SPJC president Carl Kuttler said the Legislature didn't mandate the increase but sent "very strong language to do this."

The money the tuition increase will raise was included in the Legislature's budget for the college, Kuttler said.

Tuition also increased 4.8 percent last year and has gone up about 5 percent in each of the past several years, he said.

By comparison, Hillsborough Community College charges the same tuition as SPJC. Pasco-Hernando Community College's fees are $1.37 per hour lower for in-state students and about $5 per hour lower for out-of-state students.

The average SPJC student takes seven to eight credit hours per semester, Kuttler said. For a Florida resident who takes eight credit hours, the increase would mean an extra $18.56 per semester.

"While that is not enormous," Kuttler said, "Ninety percent of our people work, and every dollar is important to them."

About two-thirds of the college's students are women, many of them over 30. "We've got a lot of single moms," Kuttler said. Kuttler said the college just received the budget information Monday, and officials had not had time to analyze it completely. But he said he does not think any other fee increases, such as for student activities, will follow.

Students standing in line to register at SPJC's Clearwater campus Monday did not seem overly concerned with the tuition increase.

Several said they were not affected because they had scholarships that absorbed increases or because they were participants in the Florida Prepaid Tuition Program, which guarantees tuition regardless of the cost.

Others said the tuition is still a bargain.

"Compared to other states, it's cheap," said Krista Feichtinger, 29, of Palm Harbor, who moved here a year ago. She said she paid $126 per credit hour in New York as an in-state student.

It takes one year to establish Florida residency.

Pantelis Hatziharalambou, 24, from the Greek island of Limnos, said he came to live with his uncle in Clearwater to get an education. The fee increase will be hard on his father in Greece, who is paying his tuition, he said. It will hurt even more, Hatziharalambou said, because the value of the Greek drachma is falling, compared to the dollar.

"For me, it's a lot of money to pay because our money is going down," he said.

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