It is unfair to increase the financial burden on the students of this community when the school moves in directions that will only increase spending.
During the February Board of Regents meeting, a measure passed with an 8-1 vote to increase tuition for the 2017-2018 school year by $5 per credit hour. This may seem like a nominal amount of money to spend each year, however many students and their families already struggle to pay for college and many graduates struggle to pay back students loans.
Student loans are key here. The school knows that the aid provided will cover the costs of tuition and they know people will continue to apply for aid. So when the state cuts the funding that they provide to our school the school will look to the students to cover the gap. As long as the aid is available tuition raises will continue to plague the student body.
While the editorial board of this paper understands that from time to time tuition increases will be a necessity, we find the timing curious.
The school has furiously been adding administrative positions to the college over the past two years and costs of those salaries have added up in a big way.
According to the Del Mar College Statistical Profile, the faculty salaries budget for the 2014-year was $26,798,654 while the budget for the 2016-year was $26,850,551, a .2% increase over two years.
The budget for non-exempt salaries, meaning teachers, rose from $7,091,881 to $7,919,705, a 10% increase.
However, in 2014 the exempt salaries budget (administrative positions) was $7,603,087 while in 2016 it jumped to $10,350,381. That is a 36% increase for administrative salaries.
The school has been hiring new administrators in anticipation of new campuses and more students. More students never came.
Last fall the college held a press conference to boast of enrollment numbers over 12,000 for the first time in years, but the numbers were pre-certified. The actual numbers for Fall 2016 semester were 11,930, according to the department of Strategic Planning and Institutional Research.
Del Mar used those numbers as one of the pillars of their argument for people to vote in favor of the Southside Bond. The bond narrowly passed with 53.6% of voters in favor. The bond will total $139 million dollars in tax-funded dollars.
This means that students living in Nueces County and attending Del Mar will be hit twice with increases to fund the college.
Additionally, Del Mar has announced they are hiring a mascot and has commissioned a company to created a costume for said mascot. We contacted the school to get the cost of the mascot, however they have said that the final numbers are not yet in.
If funds are tight enough that the school felt the need to increase our tuition then why are they able to find the funds right now to hire a consulting company to create a mascot and then commission the actual costume?
The answer again goes back to financial aid. They know the aid will cover the increases.
A community of people that largely live paycheck to paycheck is being nickel and dimed to death by the very institutions we look to to help us advance our lives.