College fees to drop next semester |

College fees to drop next semester

William Ferchland

Soon the cost of taking classes at Lake Tahoe Community College will go the way of gas prices and temperatures.

Starting the winter quarter, the per-unit fee will drop from $17 to $13 and college officials hope the price decrease will help balance enrollment figures.

The fee drop for the California Community College system was included in the state budget Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed in the summer. It was welcomed news for a college plagued by declining enrollment.

Four years ago, when the college had 1,876 full-time equivalent students (those taking at least 12 units), the per-unit fee was $7. Last year, when per-unit fees were $17, the college’s enrollment was 300 students less compared to the 2002-03 school year.

Lori Gaskin, vice president of student services and academic programs, wouldn’t place all the blame on enrollment loss to increased fees but she hopes it will open the doors to more students and, at the least, maintain enrollment.

The trend might continue this year. Gaskin said with enrollment being down the college will work to stop the hemorrhage.

“We don’t want to drop anymore,” she said.

One former student who might return to the college’s classrooms is Darlene Padilla, who found the $17 per-unit fee expensive and is not taking classes this year.

“I would take more classes when the price drops,” she said.

Student Body President Keon Hall is reserving his expectations. But he hopes the fee drop will lure students to school which would help the college’s finances.

Enrollment for the fall quarter is down 5 percent from last year, Gaskin said.

Yet for college students, known to be cash-strapped, the fee decrease sounds better than a $4 increase.

“I’m glad to hear that,” Padilla said. “I just want to hear the price of books drop.”

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