Rock Valley College (RVC) students will face a 5.9 percent tuition increase beginning this fall, when the rate will be hiked from $51 to $54 per credit hour. The tuition hike means a full-time student enrolled in 15 hours of courses will pay an extra $45 each term.
RVC Board of Trustees unanimously approved the increase at their Feb. 22 meeting. According to an RVC news release, Jack Becherer, RVCs new president, made the recommendation to maintain a quality learning environment for students and increasing operational costs.
Becherer has been working to rebuild trust in the administration and put the college back on sound financial ground after RVCs previous president, Roland Chapdelaine, was unanimously fired by trustees Jan. 13, 2004, for undisclosed reasons. Becherer began his tenure as president last fall.
RVC also cited no significant increases in recent or anticipated levels of state funding as an additional factor for the tuition hike. However, RVC officials emphasize that even with the tuition increase, the rate is still lower than other local community colleges.
During Chapdelaines seven-year tenure from 1997 to 2004, RVC borrowed about $62 million for several major construction projects that raised the schools operational costs. At the same time, RVC went without a qualified chief financial officer for approximately two years, which led to a downgrade of the colleges recognition status in February 2003 by RVCs governing agency, the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB).
The (ICCB) continues to closely monitor RVCs progress toward addressing financial concerns.
Chapdelaine was handed an overwhelming number of no confidence votes by all three employee groups that totaled 204 to 28 in the fall of 2003. The no confidence votes followed about eight months of The Rock River Times articles that spotlighted Chapdelaines mismanagement of the college. The news series received a second-place award from the Illinois Press Association in October 2004.