York Tech tuition to stay put

York Technical College has provided an exception in an inflationary economy by holding fall 2007 tuition for full-time students at the 2006 level.

College officials made the announcement Monday. York County residents will continue to pay $1,494, and out-of-county residents will pay $1,656.

"We could have inched up," said Dennis Gribenas, college vice president of business affairs, "but we did it to help the students. They pay so much for textbooks and so forth, we wanted to defray their costs. We hope we get through the year without any increases."

Holding the line on tuition was partly paved by the state Legislature's belated adoption of a budget, preventing the college from filling new positions, Gribenas said. Energy savings also factored in through the replacement of all light fixtures and the curtailed Monday through Thursday class schedule, he added. The college also is holding more online classes for fuel savings.

York Tech's new president, Greg Rutherford, additionally credited faculty and staff for toeing the line.

"Having been a technical college student myself, I have a feeling for what it's like to support a family, hold a job and go to school at the same time," Rutherford said. "We're going to do our best to contain costs and do what's best for the students."

The state's $7.8 million appropriation to the college, about $48,000 more than last year, will cover most of the 3 percent cost-of-living increase legislators have mandated for state employees, Gribenas said.

Much of the state's recurring money for the college is unrestricted, meaning York Tech can use it in any way it deems necessary, Rutherford added.

The college will add two career counseling positions to the staff this year in the wake of recent plant closings.

"Our internal rapid response team met last week to talk about innovative ways to make our program more accessible to those losing jobs," Rutherford said. "We are working on going on site to plants to provide information on career training."

The college's nursing program expanded last year to its largest class, 76 graduates. Rutherford expects nursing opportunities to continue to expand.

There also should be "significant opportunities" in the college's new law enforcement program, as well as the business administration, environmental science, industrial engineering, heavy equipment, four-year college transfer and other programs, he said.

Last year, the college's credit enrollment increased 5 percent to 6,497 students, and enrollment in the continuing education program has grown to more than 9,000.

College officials await word from state agencies on what the maximum lottery-funded tuition assistance will be for students in the coming year. It currently is $948 per semester for full-time students and $79 per credit hour for eligible part-time students.