Archive for Tuition


2016 or 2017 GED grads may attend Yavapai Community College without paying tuition; but must provide for other related costs

Students who have recently received their GED will be able to attend Yavapai College tuition-free.

Penny Wills, Yavapai College president, said the College’s Adult Basic Education waives tuition and fees for all Yavapai County residents who earned their GED in 2016 or 2017, and who meet Arizona state residency requirements.

“We know after 12 credits of higher education they are more likely to vote, they are less likely—markedly—to be incarcerated, and they will be much more involved with their communities. That’s the type of person that I want in our society,” she said.

Students will still be responsible for other expenses, such as books, supplies, and testing fees, according to a post on the Yavapai College website.



Does Attorney General Brnovich’s lawsuit against Arizona Board of Regents for not adhering to a State constitutional requirement that tuition for residents attending state universities be “nearly as free as possible” raise legal issues for Yavapai?

On September 8 Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a complaint against the Arizona Board of Regents claiming board members have “dramatically and unconstitutionally’’ increased the cost of going to one of the state’s three universities.  He argued that Arizona’s Constitution, article XI, § 6 was violated.  It states that “The university and all other state educational institutions shall be open to students of both sexes, and the instruction furnished shall be as nearly free as possible.”

Does the fact that student tuition at Yavapai Community College is specifically used to pay off revenue bonds that were sold to renovate the student residence halls violate that Amendment?  After all, the Governing Board could have asked voters to approve a General Obligation Bond to pay for renovation rather than put the debt on the shoulders of student tuition.

Does the fact that over the past ten years the Governing Board has increased tuition in some form at a rate far above inflation while spending an estimated $100 million on capital projects, using money paid from primary taxes for those projects, rather than applying those funds to keep tuition low, violate the State Constitution? After all, the Governing Board could have sought voter approval via General Obligation Bonds to pay for those expensive projects.

Does the fact that tier 2 courses cost double what they cost ten years ago or that in some alleged “market based courses” students pay over $500 per credit hour violate the Constitutional provision to keep tuition as “nearly free as possible”?

Maybe this lawsuit will bring about some answers to those questions.  Maybe the Yavapai Community College District Governing Board might even discuss this issue—but probably not.  The Blog assumes the Board with Deb McCasland most likely dissenting will push through another tuition increase in excess of inflation in February or March 2018 while continuing to spend millions on capital projects using primary tax money rather than ask voters to approve General Obligation Bonds for the projects.  After all, given its history, does anyone really believe there will be a serious attempt by the Yavapai Community College Governing Board to keep tuition as “nearly free as possible?”  


Will Yavapai Community College ever seriously explore this possibility?

Rhode Island has become the fourth state in the United States to make community college tuition and fees free. The tuition and fee waiver applies to all students regardless of income.

Rhode Island follows New York, Oregon, and Tennessee in making tuition and fees free at the community college level.

Typically, Yavapai Community College has increased tuition in some form every year for the past 10 years. It currently collects around $10 million a year in tuition. Is it possible, given the current excess revenue that is used to build parking lots, tennis courts, and buildings, to make tuition free for Yavapai residents and their children or at least reduced by many dollars at the College?  Will the College and the Governing Board seriously study and discuss this issue?


Yavapai DACA policy bars in-state tuition for Dreamers; does not follow Pima community college, Maricopa community college or the University of Arizona; Governing Board has not reviewed the policy in recent past

[NEWS ANALYSIS] The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy was created by the Obama administration in June 2012 with an Executive Order. Undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria such as entering the country before the age of 16 and have not been convicted of any significant misdemeanors or felonies receive various protections. These protections include relief from deportation and the granting of a Social Security number and a work permit. Estimates are that from 600,000 to 750,00 undocumented immigrants are currently protected by this policy.

The “Dreamers” face an uncertain future at Yavapai Community College and elsewhere.  They worry that the Obama executive order will be struck down by conservative courts and regardless of their situation, they will be deported. They also worry about how to pay outstate tuition even though they may have lived all their life in Arizona since being brought here by their parents illegally.

Yavapai College apparently rejects the position taken by Pima and Maricopa Community colleges regarding DACA status and residency for tuition purposes.  On its website Yavapai College states that: “Documentation for both Arizona residency and US citizenship MUST be provided to the Answer Center by all students who wish to apply for in-state tuition status. US citizenship and Arizona residency are two separate requirements. Being a US citizen does not indicate that your Arizona residency status for tuition purposes is fulfilled. Yavapai College requires clear and convincing evidence to support any claims for Arizona residency status, in addition to proof of US citizenship.” Click here for residency tuition policy. 

The policy of the University of Arizona is much different than Yavapai College when it comes to residency for DACA students. Click here to read University of Arizona DACA policy. 

In an article by Rocky Baier in the Arizona Daily Wildcat of July 15, 2017 the plight of “Dreamer” Noemí Salazar Mata was described.  Ms. Mata, is currently a junior studying journalism and Spanish for translation at the University of Arizona.  She came to the United States in 1995, when she was one-year-old. She applied and received DACA status in 2012.

The article states that before coming to the UA, she was at Pima Community College for three years because she couldn’t move on.

Read More→


 Increase well above inflationary rate: McCasland “no,” Harris “yes”

The request from the Yavapai community college administration to increase tuition for the 2017-18 academic year by 5% went sailing through the governing board on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 by a 4-1 vote. Deb McCasland, who represents about one-half of the Verde Valley, voted “no.” Connie Harris, the newly appointed representative from the Verde Valley District #3 fell in line with the County’s west-side majority and voted “yes.” The vote by Harris was the first time in four years that the District #3 representative voted to approve the tuition increase.  Ms. Harris did not utter a word during the discussion on the issue of increasing tuition.

Representative Deb McCasland was the only member of the Board who put hard questions to the College during its presentation. The College said it had to increase tuition because it didn’t want to increase the property tax rate.  It also blamed the reduction in state aid that occurred about six years ago to justify the increase.

The vote was predicted by the blog earlier this past week. The community college administration has increased tuition every year in some form for more than a decade. Also as predicted by the Blog, there was no information regarding the actual need for such an increase.  In other works, neither the budget nor anticipated expenses were discussed.  Furthermore, there was no discussion about cutting back on the huge building/remodeling spree that continues in the District.

Tuition will always be increased under this approach because there is never a showing by the College of the actual new expenses that must be covered by an increase.  The expenses are discussed from two to three months later.

The following  video contains the nine-minute Board “discussion”  about increasing tuition. (Apology for word “stater” rather than “state” in early slide.)


Governing Board to determine increase on Valentine’s Day; tuition increased in some form every year for the past decade (Where is the student voice on tuition?)

Commentary Bob Oliphant

It appears that the Yavapai Community College is on its way to deliver a “Valentine’s day gift” to students wrapped up as a 5% tuition increase. This increase will likely occur at the District Governing Board meeting Tuesday, February 14 in Prescott. The “gift” will be swathed in hyper-technical rhetoric considered the “black art” of accounting and unhelpful comparisons between tuition charged at the community college and that charged at four-year universities and other community colleges. Absent will be sparse serious in-depth Governing Board analysis of spending priorities, excess revenue from 2015-16, reducing its wild capital building spree, the financial impact of losing 6,000 students by headcount in ten years, the alleged veteran aeronautics tuition/fee scam, or a consideration of areas where real savings could be achieved.  

Relevant to any requested tuition increase is the fact that last month the College disclosed in writing that in fiscal year 2015-16 it didn’t use about $10 million in revenue. Of that amount, $8 million was apparently provided by taxes and tuition. Because it didn’t spend the budgeted $10 million, the College asked and received Governing Board approval to retroactively modify the 2015-16 budget.

According to the College’s January report, it received $44 million in taxes and tuition revenue in 2015-16 for use in the general fund that pays for education. However, it didn’t spend $4 million of the revenue. In its plant fund, the College said it intended to use $12.8 million of the taxes and tuition it collected on parking lots and buildings. However, it reported it used only $8.4 million. 

To a taxpayer, this ostensibly looks like there is over $8 million in revenue that should be available for use in a 2017-18 budget. Why then ask for a tuition increase?

The College’s Valentine’s day greeting card to students for 2017 should read something like this: “We’re bursting with happiness that we can now fill, our overflowing vaults, with 5% more from your personal till.”

Bob Oliphant

Al Filardo questions increasing tuition without also considering expenses; providing a matrix

Corporate model says sales down, alarm bells ringing and College continues down a road of  “free spending” –this makes no sense

Al Filardo 2

Al Filardo, 3rd District Representative

At the March 1, 2016 Board meeting, Third District Representative Al Filardo used a typical corporate business model when questioning the administration about whether the five percent tuition increase being sought was justified.  He questioned whether a tuition increase should be considered in isolation from the expense budget for the coming year, which to most people makes a whole lot or sense.  (But not the College.)

Filardo explained that he had no matrix to apply to the requested increase.  By that he meant that there are no set goals for the President to increase enrollment or accurately assess student satisfaction.  Moreover, the Board had yet to consider expenses and where they might be cut.

Mr. Filardo also said that he was not an enemy of the faculty when it comes to such things as a salary increase; he was simply trying to find a way to justify the tuition increase to the residents of the County. But he observed that from a corporate perspective, when sales are down, you must ask whether such increasing employee salaries is justified. 

Filardo was joined in his criticism of the request by Ms. Deb McCasland.  The vote was 3-2 to increase tuition by five percent.  The three member West side majority voted together to approve the increase.  Mr. Filardo and Ms. McCasland, representing the entire Verde Valley, voted “no.” 

A portion of Mr. Filardo’s inquiry can be seen in a short two-minute clip by clicking here.

As enrollment falls, tuition increases to support $100 million building plan

Placing bricks and mortar above education, West County representatives unite to pass another tuition increase to keep building blitz going

On March 1, 2016 the three-member voting block from the West side of Yavapai County voted to once again increase student tuition.  The increase is necessary if the College is to continue its building blitz on the West side of the County, which takes up $8 million or more on average a year. The increase will be around $4 per credit hour.

Representatives Al Filardo and Deb McCasland, representing Verde Valley interests, voted against the proposal.  Ms. McCasland argued there were many opportunities for the College to find ways to cut expenditures.  Mr. Filardo questioned the efficacy of increasing tuition to pay for such things as increased salaries when enrollment was continuing to fall.

Tuition 2

The College has increased tuition in some form every year for the past ten years—even during all of the recession.  The College almost never talks about the fact that it has put in place a three-tier tuition fee structure; rather, it hypes a claim that student fees are $75 per credit hour per semester.  Almost half of the enrolled students pay much higher fees—although the College has not released the exact percentage for obvious reasons.  Tier 2 students pay $86 per credit hour; tier three students pay $96 per credit hour.  Furthermore, there are a number of so-called “market tuition based” courses that charge from $105 to $161 per hour.  Finally, some aviation courses charge as much as $662 an hour. Click here to see the 2016 in-state fee schedule.

No students spoke for or against the proposed increase.


Wills’ claims strong economy and VA cause enrollment decline

Excuse for decline raises questions: Increased tution, closing of Camp Verde; attempt to close Sedona may also be factors

President Penelope Wills’ claims in a September letter to the faculty that the continued decline in enrollment at the College is attributable to the strong economy and the Veterans Administration crackdown on the aviation program.

According to Wills’ “enrollment is slightly down but when you consider the primary reason, the stronger economy, I can accept that!  Another major impact on our enrollment was the VA decision not to allow us to enroll veterans in our aviation programs (rotary and fixed wing.) We are working with our industry partners, North-Aire and Guidance, to enroll more civilians in these two programs so that we can satisfy the VA’s ruling of 85/15 (No more than 85% of any program can be comprised of veterans receiving benefits.)  We hope we will soon be able to announce a viable solution.”

Wills’ did not provide the percentage of enrollment drop in her letter, however, reliable sources indicate the drop this year is close to 5%.

The problem with the Wills’ analysis, which places the decline on the improved economy, doesn’t appear supported by historic enrollment data issued by the College as shown by the chart that appears below. 

Enrollment headcount only last ten years

Headcount figures show that with the exception of 2012/13, enrollment has steadily declined over the last 12 years under the Wills’ and Horton administrations regardless of the economy.  Wills’ took over in the fall, 2011; Horton in August, 2005. Enrollment is now at an all time low. In 2006/07 the headcount was 16,312 and there was no recession. It is about 5,000 students down today.

Wills’ also fails to recognize that Horton’s decision to close the Camp Verde facility in 2010 and her effort to close the Sedona Center are factors that have impacted the number of students seeking credit courses.  The increase in tuition likewise may have impacted enrollment.

A portion of the aviation program was closed down in March, 2014 because the College had failed to comply with Veterans’ Administration requirements.  A $60 million lawsuit is being litigated by the former director of the program who claims he was filed, which alleges among other things that he was fired because he complained about the failure to comply with VA regulations.Tuition 2015 table




Tuition at Pima Community College goes up by 7%

$7 Million dollar loss of state aid triggers tuition increase

Pima Community College will increase tuition by $5 per credit hour for in-state students next school year. Base tuition will go from $70.50 to $75.50 per credit-hour for the 2015-16 school year. This is a 7 percent increase.

Tuition 2Nonresident tuition was increased by $23 a credit hour from $329 to $352.
Like Yavapai Community College, Pima has a tiered credit system. It charges more than the base rate for certain classes. Thus, courses listed as differential “A” courses at Pima Community College charge $85 a credit. These courses include Aviation Technology (AVM); Dental Assisting Education (DAE); Fashion Design (FDC); Fitness and Sports (FSS); Interior Design (IDE); Law Enforcement Academy (LEA); Machine Tool Technology (MAC); Massage Therapy (TMA); Med Lab Tech (MLT); Music Studio Instruction (MUP); Respiratory Therapy (RTH); Travel Industry Operations (TVL); Veterinary Technology (VET); Welding (WLD).

Tuition for courses in Clinical Research (CRC); Dental Hygiene (DHE); Dental Lab Technology (DLT); Nursing (NRS); Radiologic Technology (RAD); Technology (TEC); Truck Driver (TDT) cost $91.50 per credit hour.

Pima Community College lost about $7 million in state aid in the coming school year under the state’s new budget plan, according to Sylvia Lee, president of the Governing Board. The college received about $7.7 million in state aid this academic year. Yavapai Community College did not receive a reduction in state aid.