EL PASO, TX — Starting in the fall, El Paso Community College students will pay 6 percent more for in-state tuition and out of state students, including international students, will pay 50 percent more.
"It's going to put a lot of people down and out, especially students from Juarez from everywhere. I just feel everyone should be given an equal opportunity," said student James Romo.
A Texas resident taking 12 hours will pay $972 a semester, an increase of $48. For out-of-state and international students, tuition jumps to $1,812, an increase of $564.
"We had a very small gap between our resident and non-resident tuition that was happening for years, which really was not fair to our resident students who are paying taxes or whose parents are paying taxes in this community," said Josette Shaughnessy, Interim Vice President of Administration and Financial Operations.
The school will also start charging online students a fee.
A sophomore who lives in Juarez doesn't agree with the hike and said it will make it difficult for students coming from Juarez.
"It's ridiculous certainly because I'm Mexican and I don't have any help to pay for my classes. I don't have financial aid or anything," said student Jesus Araujo.
Last semester, the community college was hit with a $16 million budget cut for the next two years from the state.
"It is definitely a tough decision for the college to implement the tuition increase. Unfortunately, the state legislature is not giving us a whole lot of choice if we're gonna continue serving our community," said Shaughnessy.
The tuition hike and new student fee will bring in $4.7 million.
The school said the higher rates will pay for campus improvements and employee pay raises.
Shaughnessy said EPCC has the lowest cost of education, compared to UTEP and NMSU.
"Their resident rate is three times higher than ours but their non-resident rate is substantially higher," said Shaughnessy.