Kirkwood tuition and fees second lowest among Iowa community colleges

Tuition per credit hour this fall is $133

Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids ties for the second-lowest tuition this fall among Iowa's 15 community colleges.

Kirkwood's 2012-13 tuition per credit hour this fall is $133, the same as Des Moines Area Community College, according to the annual report on community college tuition and fees presented to the State Board of Education Thursday.

Eastern Iowa Community College has the lowest tuition and fees rate this year, at $131.20, according to the report. The state average is $147.90, a 3.48 percent increase from last year. Iowa Valley Community College has the highest rate, at $170. Five of the colleges, including Kirkwood, do not charge general mandatory fees, while other schools have a tuition rate and mandatory fees. The annual report lists the per-credit-hour total cost for the colleges.

Community colleges, like Iowa's public universities, are relying more heavily on student tuition dollars for their funding, according to the report. Tuition and fees made up 57.3 percent of general operating funds for Iowa's community colleges in Fiscal Year 2011, compared to 39 percent of the funding in 2001, the report states. State funding in that same time declined from 45.5 percent in 2001 to 29.5 percent in 2011.

When looking only at tuition rates and excluding mandatory fees, average tuition for a full-time student at Iowa's community colleges this fall rose $149 to $4,097. Tuition increases averaged 3.77 percent this year, according to the report. Since Fiscal Year 2004, tuition at the community colleges has grown on average 5.31 percent per year.

When looking at community college tuition in the Midwest, Iowa this year was the third-highest average tuition rate, behind Minnesota and South Dakota, among the eight states regionally, the report said.

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