Some Mohave Community College students to see tuition hike

Some 50 to 60 full-time, out-of-state students attending Mohave Community College will pay higher tuition next fiscal year following the rescinding of two agreements Jan.

13 by the college's district governing board.

The board voted 4-0 to cancel MCC participation in the Colorado River Compact and its Good Neighbor policy.

Both agreements date back at least five years, according to Bill Lovejoy, vice president of administration.

MCC, Arizona Western College in Yuma and Imperial Valley, Riverside and San Bernardino community colleges in California were participating institutions in the Colorado River Compact.

The pact allowed students to attend any of the colleges at tuition rates comparable to those paid by in-state residents.

"The board really had no choice (in rescinding the compact agreement)," Lovejoy said.

"California law says such agreements must be made between state agencies and when the State Board of Directors for Community Colleges was abolished last year the mechanism ceased to exist."

The Good Neighbor policy permitted students from Clark County, Nev., and Kane and Washington counties in Utah to attend MCC at in-state tuition rates, but no reciprocal agreement was in place, Lovejoy said.

Cancellation of the two agreements becomes effective July 1.

Out-of-state residents attending MCC in the fall will pay 150 percent of the resident tuition rate under the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program.

Tuition rates for out-of-state residents without that program would be 300 percent or triple that paid by Arizona residents, Lovejoy said.

There is one exception.

Out-of-state residents in the MCC nursing program will be exempted from WUE rates for one year.

There presently are 52 out-of-state students in the MCC nursing program, but some only take six to nine credit hours per semester, Lovejoy said.

A student must take 30 credit hours per year to be considered full-time at MCC.

One credit hour at MCC in the fall for an out-of-state resident will be $63.

Lovejoy said that's a good deal when you consider a Utah resident attending Dixie State College in St.

George pays $59 per credit hour.

Rescinding of the two agreements also will permit better use of Mohave County taxpayer dollars here, Lovejoy said.

"The philosophy in Arizona is to use state or county tax money to serve county residents," he said.

"Out-of-staters should pay a little more."

Lovejoy was asked whether the Colorado River Compact was a good idea that has become a victim of the economic times or was it a questionable policy from the start.

"That's a tough question," he said.

"Many states try to accommodate students just across their borders, so it was probably as much for the convenience of students as anything else when it was set up.

But given current economic conditions where state appropriations are decreasing we have to look to protect our own citizens first."