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Alpena Community College keeps tuition flat, hikes tech fee

Alpena Community College President Don MacMaster

ALPENA — While tuition to attend Alpena Community College in the fall will remain the same, students can expect an increase in the technology fee.

The ACC Board of Trustees today agreed to raise the technology fee to $6 per contact hour, up from $4 per contact hour. The fee hasn’t been increased since 2002.

Tuition will otherwise remain the same, with in-district students paying $137 per contact hour and out-of-district students paying $217 per contact hour.

College officials will continue to monitor the budget and will review the tuition rate again ahead of the spring semester.

Trustees today also approved a roughly $15 million budget for the 2021 fiscal year, a $262,197 increase over the current budget.

Officials do not expect to need to dip into the college’s $1.48 million savings to balance the budget. No layoffs or cuts to any programs are planned for next year, college President Don MacMaster said.

The budget includes a 3% raise for college staff, faculty, and administration, including MacMaster, who received a glowing review from the board today. The president will make $172,462 in total compensation, including longevity pay, mileage, and other benefits.

MacMaster said every college employee is essential and leaders tried to avoid layoffs early on, although they did cut back on non-personnel items, like travel, training, and supplies.

The college received a $2.4 million loan through the federal Paycheck Protection Program set up to help businesses overcome the effects of the coronavirus. MacMaster said the loan can turn into a grant if a high percentage is used for payroll and layoffs are avoided.

While college officials worry about losing revenue from the state’s School Aid Fund, which lost billions from economic shutdowns related to the virus, MacMaster said he thinks it’s possible the state will find federal money to fix its budget problems.

The state’s appropriation makes up about 40% of the college’s revenue, he said.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.

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