Steamboat Springs Colorado Mountain College is increasing its tuition rates for the first time in three years.
Rising faculty salaries and the increased cost to maintain the college's 11 campuses are contributing factors to the hike, said CMC's director of public information Debbie Crawford.
"We are dealing with trying to pay employees competitive rates, with institutional expenses going up, such as energy costs," she said. "We are dealing with the same rising expenses that other businesses, schools and nonprofits are, but we are still the best deal around. Really good value for what we do charge."
Crawford noted tuition for the fall semester will increase from $43 to $45 a credit hour for in-district students, from $72 to $75 a credit hour for in-state students, and from $231 to $235 a credit hour for out-of-state students.
"For in-district students, it's only going up $2 per credit hour, so if someone is taking 12 credit hours, it's only going up $24 per semester," she said.
Crawford said CMC is the least expensive in-district tuition option for students in the state.
"We want to keep tuition affordable, but we want to make sure the end-user, the student, is paying a little bit more," she said.
The college's low tuition is a reflection of the fact that CMC receives significant funding from property taxes, Crawford said.
"Raising tuition some will help ease the burden for taxpayers who also carry that burden," she said. "It's evening out that balance between taxpayer and student."
Katlyn Stout, 19, is part of the largest-ever student body at CMC's Alpine Campus in Steamboat Springs, said Brian Hoza, the college's director of student services.
The number of full-time, degree-seeking students at the two-year community college is up by 3.8 percent from Aug. 1, 2006.
"It's pretty cheap out of state for school, but it's still expensive for me and costs a lot of money," said Stout, who has lived on campus at CMC since moving to Steamboat from St. Paul, Minn.
The second-year student said she is struggling to pay out-of-state tuition.
"I pay my own tuition - not my parents - and I work at the campus bookstore to get by," Stout said. "It's already expensive enough to live here as it is."