Colorado Mountain College reduces bachelors class pricing to $80 per credit hour | SteamboatToday.com

Colorado Mountain College reduces bachelors class pricing to $80 per credit hour

Randy Wyrick/Vail Daily

Colorado Mountain College graduates thank their friends and family during the 2017 graduation ceremony at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel.

EDWARDS — Colorado Mountain College slashed the cost of its bachelor’s-level courses by almost one-fourth, something no college has done.

CMC is already the third-most-affordable bachelor’s degree in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Education. However, recently the CMC board of trustees reduced the cost of its bachelors-level courses $19 per credit hour, to $80 per credit hour.

“We are unaware of any public college that has ever chosen to voluntarily reduce tuition. We hope that this tuition cut reflects a good-faith effort to meet the long-term needs of students and demonstrate prudent financial management,” said Matt Gianneschi, CMC’s chief operating officer.

OFFSETTING AA COST INCREASE

At the same time, the CMC trustees raised associates-level classes by $15 to $80 per credit hour, to make it the same as the college’s bachelor’s program.

That associates degree cost increase will be largely offset by cutting textbook costs for students through a new book rental program, the trustees said during last week’s meeting in Edwards.

The average annual textbook costs for full-time students can hit $1,600 per year, according to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. CMC’s new textbook leasing program will cost a full-time student a maximum of $780 per year, the trustees said.

WHY THE CHANGE?

Eight years ago, when CMC started offering bachelors degrees, Colorado’s Department of Education did not allow the college to use state funding for its bachelors programs.

State lawmakers changed that a few years ago, and now all public funding can be applied equally to all students, Gianneschi said.

The trustees noted that by keeping bachelors degrees affordable, students have a greater incentive to complete a four-year degree.

“Everyone on the board is very sensitive to the impact of tuition and other related educational costs on our students,” said Patty Theobald, who chairs CMC’s board of trustees. “We hope that by equalizing tuition rates for lower-level and upper-level courses, students will better be able to complete a bachelor’s degree.”

Recommended Stories For You

HELPING STUDENTS HELP THEMSELVES

The college’s 50th anniversary Finish What You Started scholarship for students returning after being out of college handed out $70,000 to 150 students, along with $100,000 in President’s Scholarships awarded to 100 local students per year. In addition, the Colorado Mountain College Foundation has awarded an average of 316 scholarships each year for the past three years, totaling just less than $3 million.

“We want students to know that the college is their partner to help them find federal and state financial aid grants and scholarship opportunities from the CMC Foundation,” Theobald said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

CUTTING COLLEGE TUITION

Colorado Mountain College is reducing the cost of its bachelors degree classes next year.

• $19 decrease per credit hour for in-district students, to $80 per credit hour.

• $35 decrease for service-area students.

• $32 decrease for in-state students.

• $13 increase for out-of-state students.

ASSOCIATE TUITION INCREASES

• $15 increase per credit hour for in-district students, to $80 per credit hour.

• $27 increase for service area students.

• $33 increase for in-state students.

• $13 increase for out-of-state students.

Source: Colorado Mountain College