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New MCC tuition model, effective Fall 2021, will eliminate most course and program fees

February 23, 2021
By Tim Engle

Metropolitan Community College’s Board of Trustees has approved a new tuition model that will eliminate most course fees and reduce the cost of some workforce programs, including nursing and utility lineman.

While tuition will increase, from $107 to $116 per credit hour for in-district students, officials add that the removal of fees will result in many students paying about the same or even less over the course of their MCC education.

For most MCC disciplines, all extra fees — including the $10-per-semester general fee, $15-per-credit-hour distance education fee (for internet classes) and a variety of course and program fees — will be eliminated starting with the Fall 2021 semester, when the new tuition model takes effect. Trustees approved the change Feb. 18.

Fifteen workforce training programs that utilize specialized equipment, supplies or labs will now have a tiered fee structure. Each course in a discipline will assess the same additional fee each semester:

  • Tier 1 disciplines — HVAC, radiologic technology and welding — will assess an additional $50 program fee per course.
  • Tier 2 ($100 fee per course) includes paramedic, engineering technology, police and fire science, physical therapy assistant and veterinary technology.
  • Tier 3 ($150 fee per course) includes automotive technology, dental assisting, utility lineman and surgical technology.
  • Tier 4 ($400 fee per course) includes practical and professional nursing.

Not every class required for those 15 programs will include the extra fee. Discipline-specific courses will, but prerequisite and general education courses (such as biology and chemistry) will not.

"We undertook a comprehensive review of our tuition and fees with a goal of providing greater transparency and ease for students," Chancellor Kimberly Beatty says. "With this new structure, students will be able to easily see how much a class will cost and plan the cost of their entire degree."

Another concern was affordability of some higher-cost MCC career programs. "By addressing the cost of some of our workforce programs, we’re making them accessible to more students," Chancellor Beatty says.

About 75% of MCC courses will charge no extra fees under the new model. Many courses that currently include fees no longer will.

While the tiered workforce disciplines represent higher-cost programs, six of them — including utility lineman and the two nursing credentials — will actually become more affordable. (All costs are estimates for in-district MCC students and can vary depending on which courses are taken.)

  • Total cost for a utility lineman A.A.S. degree will decrease from $10,730 currently to $8,692 under the new model.
  • Total cost for a practical nursing certificate will decrease from $10,426 to $9,690.
  • Total cost for a professional nursing A.A.S. degree will decrease from $14,531 to $12,068.

Several of the tiered workforce programs should cost students about the same to complete. Total estimated cost for the HVAC program will drop slightly, from $7,656 to $7,642. The paramedic program will go from $10,681 to $10,832. Fire science will go from $8,497 to $8,724. Radiation technology will go from $9,539 to $9,550. Welding will go from $7,910 to $8,126.

MCC’s most popular degree, the associate in arts (A.A.) transfer degree, could cost a few dollars less under the new tuition model. The current cost for completing the 60-credit-hour degree is $6,971. Under the new model, the estimated cost is $6,960.

Dozens of MCC courses now charge lab fees, but those will all be eliminated starting this fall. Current examples of fees:

  • $70 per semester for ART 139, Film and Darkroom Photography
  • $56 per semester for BIOL 101, General Biology
  • $42 per semester for CHEM 105, Introductory Chemistry for Health Sciences
  • $128 per semester for CSIS 115, Computer Concepts and Applications
  • $60 per semester for HIM 100, Medical Terminology

The 15 workforce programs that will use the tiered fee structure already charge a variety of program fees per course. But some MCC disciplines — including computer-integrated machining and manufacturing (CIMM), computer science information systems (CSIS), health information management (HIM) and occupational therapy assistant (OTHA) — will charge no program fees under the new model.

The consolidation and removal of fees is also expected to give some students greater financial aid benefits.

"There are many different types of financial aid, and some do not cover the cost of fees, requiring students to pay those out of pocket," says Dena Norris, associate vice chancellor for student financial services. Military tuition assistance programs, for example, cover only tuition.

"Under this new model, with fees eliminated, students will no longer have additional expenses unless they are in one of the 15 tiered workforce programs," Norris says.

MCC officials say it’s important that the College remain affordable and that programs continue to be high quality. An MCC education continues to be a great value, with significant savings over four-year and private institutions.

The last time tuition was increased for in-district students was Fall 2019; it had been $103 per credit hour.

Out-of-district (but in-state) tuition will rise from $198 to $228 per credit hour. Out-of-state tuition will rise from $256 to $307 per credit hour.