Monday, September 25, 2023

ACCC Nursing Students Ask Relief From Large Increase in Tuition 5.3.2006

By Rick Racela

COURT HOUSE – When Judy Cole started Atlantic Cape Community College’s nursing program she made certain plans. Those plans will have to change, she told the college’s board of trustees here April 25, when, as part of its $35-million budget, it increases the nursing clinical fee from $22 per credit hour to $175.  Cole, student representative for her nursing class, and accompanied by eight other students, asked the board to “grandfather in” the continuing nursing students Board members were silent. “Some of us are working two jobs, caring for our families, and paying for childcare all while paying our tuition and maintaining our grades,” said Cole, of Egg Harbor Township. “We’re trying to make this work,” she said, choking back tears. “But this increase is up 150 percent. It is too much.” ACCC President Peter Mora said that while it was a difficult decision to change to a cost based program, the college had to be financially responsible. He said that the program could no longer run at a deficit.  The cost of the two-year program currently costs $4,500 not including books. That will swell to approximately $9,000 in fiscal year 2007.  The net charge per semester will be $1,100 for a first-year student and $1,250 for a second-year student.  Cole, cited a list of additional expenses that would bump the price tag on the program even higher.   Books, she explained, can easily cost $200 a piece. “And we have to buy a lot of books,” Cole noted.  Carmen Royal, dean of students, said about $14,000 in emergency aid has been earmarked for nursing students for 2006-2007 and students have been offered financial aid counseling. Royal said the college’s payment plan, which is similar to the plan offered to culinary students, would be available to nursing students. Basically, she explained, students will be granted a longer grace period before having to pay for classes.  Additionally, $30,000 in relief funds has been requested from the ACCC Foundation. The foundation’s board will review the request at its June 8 meeting.   But the nursing classmates that attended the board meeting said they aren’t sure relief and financial aid will be enough. “Some of us aren’t eligible for the financial aid programs,” said Mike Kosztur of Egg Harbor Township. “And many of us just found out today that this was happening. They made the announcement after many could have applied for financial aid.”   Although Cole said she never dreamed that her role as a nursing student representative would lead her to making speeches in front of a board, she believes that this cause is worth fighting for. “We started this program with a lot of hope. We want to go out into the community and become nurses,” she said. “But now, because of the expense, it may not be possible.” Contact Huggins at: (609) 886-8600 ext. 25 or 

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