Our View: CMC offers answers to rising costs
March 17, 2012
We are sensitive to the challenges many local families face when it comes to financing higher education, whether that entails a trade school, technical school or four-year college. So when we saw the large headline on the front of Wednesday's Steamboat Today that read "CMC to raise tuition," it raised our eyebrows but only temporarily.
We think the text of the story only serves to underscore what an affordable path Colorado Mountain College and the local Alpine Campus offer to acquiring a college diploma, and we are mindful that Colorado Northwestern Community College campuses in Craig and Rangely as well as service centers in Hayden, South Routt and Meeker provide a similar benefit for area families.
CMC spokeswoman Debbie Crawford said the tuition increase, which was approved by a 4-3 vote of the CMC board of trustees, would raise the in-district cost from $53 to $56 per credit hour. That means an in-district student taking a fairly standard course load of 15 credits per semester would pay $1,680 per school year. That amounts to a $90 increase or the cost of about two tanks of gas.
The Alpine Campus now is offering its first four-year degrees including a Bachelor of Arts in sustainability studies and a Bachelor of Science in business administration.
However, most students continue to pursue a two-year associate degree. Some will use that degree to land their first professional job in ski area management or the restaurant industry. Others will transfer credits from CMC to another four-year college. And if they make the most of their two years at CMC, students will have advanced their academic careers significantly while saving money in more than one way.
Colorado Mountain College is a member of the Guaranteed General Education Project, which assures transfer of credits to Colorado's public colleges and universities. The requirements for an associate degree from CMC are designed to be transferable to a four-year college.
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For Routt County families, it's the chance for students to live at home for the first two years of college that offers another way to save on the cost of an education. Every dollar saved that doesn't get rolled into a student loan will help our young adults begin successful careers.
We believe a measure of CMC's success in Steamboat Springs will be realized when growing numbers of local high school graduates embrace it as a desirable way to launch themselves on the path to a four-year degree.