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In its Jan. 29 meeting in the Vail Valley, the Colorado Mountain College (CMC) Board of Trustees unanimously voted for a $5 per credit hour increase in all Colorado resident tuition rates for the 2020-21 academic year.

This would apply to students qualifying as in-district, in state or in CMC service areas. The out-of-state tuition rate will increase by $13 per credit hour. The new rates follow no increase in tuition in fiscal year 2019-20 and a 28 percent reduction in baccalaureate tuition in 2018-19.

The CMC press release on the topic said the Trustees contemplated a range of different options before making the decision, including setting tuition rates for a five year timespan. But they decided to continue discussing future tuition pricing options to be responsive to future economic and enrollment trends which, they pointed out, may change over the coming years.

CMC Trustees heard from the college administrators that they would continue to work on efficiencies to bring down costs and to make financial aid available to students with financial need. Inclusive of the new tuition rates and an anticipated state revenue increase of 2.5 percent, the college projects an overall 1.65 percent increase in revenues in 2020-21, which is substantially below inflation.

“While college leadership is responsible for keeping costs at or below inflation, it is trustees’ responsibility to ensure we continue to offer programs, services and facilities that meet students’ and community needs,” said CMC Board President Patty Theobald.

CMC Storefront Location located at 202 N F St. (Photo by Taylor Sumners)

Theobald continued, “In recent years we have seen unprecedented graduation rates by CMC students, especially in the numbers of local graduates. We believe that the 2020-21 tuition rates allow us to strike a balance among our classic affordability, exceptional quality, small classes and personalized learning.”

Vice President and campus Dean for Leadville and Chaffee County Rachel Pokrandt gave trustees an update on the college’s presence in Salida School District R32-J. In November 2019 voters in Salida, Poncha Springs and throughout the CMC district voted to annex that school district into CMC. Pokrandt said campus and central employees are working together to get Salida staffing into place and plan new academic offerings for the fall.

A storefront in downtown Salida has been leased and a soft opening for the site is scheduled for late February with a public open house set for April 20. Among the programs being planned for the fall, in person or via distance learning, are general education, Friday Career Academies for high school students, early childhood education certificates, hospitality training, and bachelor’s degrees in business and education.