LCC weighs tuition increase, staff cuts

      Watch #LiveOnKMTR for more on this story

      EUGENE, Ore. - Lane Community College may increase tuition and reduce staff to close a $12.6 million budget gap.

      The college's board will discuss the budget when it meats May 14.

      LCC President Mary Spilde said declines in state funding and enrollment led to the budget troubles.

      During the recession, enrollment surged 40 percent, Spilde said.

      But now that people are going back to work, enrollment has declined.

      "So we managed to handle that by not filling vacancies and reducing number of sections that they have, so that impacts part time faculty and staff," Spilde said.

      But in order to close the rest of the gap without cutting any full-time faculty or college programs would require a $3 per credit hour tuition increase.

      The college's board already approved a $2 per credit hour increase earlier this year.

      "Really stinks seeing tuition go up, but with decline in enrollment and all the other factors it may have to happen," said student Anthony Molinari.

      But student Stacy Barlow said she's trying to study hard and have enough food to eat and a place to sleep.

      "I mean last year I weighed 210 pounds and no joke I weigh 180 now because I had to cut some stuff back," she said. "I'm close to living in a storage shelter because that's where all my stuff is now and right now im couch surfing."

      Barlow, 46, said for many of her peers the cost of living is sometimes a harsh reality.

      "A lot of these students - and I've seen a lot of these students - are a lot worse off than I am," she said. "They have three kids and 2 jobs and they go to school full time."

      Spilde said the college understands the difficulties and are willing to work with students to discuss resources some more.

      She said another option if can't raise tuition is that they might have to get rid of some of the programs they have.