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Parkland raises tuition after end of COVID-19 relief

Parkland College freshman Ryan Glass cuts through steel in the welding lab.

CHAMPAIGN — Parkland College students will pay more for classes starting this summer. 

Pamela Lau is the president of Parkland College in Champaign. Courtesy of Parkland College

Parkland President Pam Lau said this is the first tuition hike for the community college in four years, because one-time cash infusions, like federal pandemic relief, are over. 

“Because of that, the board decided to go back to its tradition of doing incremental increases.” 

She said the college trustees consulted with student officers, who prefer incremental increases over large changes. 

Parkland will raise tuition by $6.25 per credit hour. For the average full-time student, tuition and student fee increases will add up to an additional $225 more a semester. 

Evan Payan is a first year student. He says the increase will squeeze his budget. 

“I live in my own apartment, so I have to juggle all the finances. I make sure that I set money aside to help with my tuition and also pay for rent, food and vet bills for my dog.” 

Payan said he can still afford the increase on his current wages and if necessary, can pick up extra hours at his job. 

Unlike Payan, many students receive state or federal financial aid through Pell or Monetary Award Program grants. 

Students can also receive a stipend for participating in certain career programs through other money Parkland receives. 

Eager Dunn wants to start his own construction business, and he hopes HVAC and other certifications will help him achieve that. He plans to take a construction course with a stipend this fall, so the tuition increase will not affect him. 

“I don’t make that much,” Dunn said. “If I had to pay, it would definitely affect my living situation right now.” 

The Parkland College Board of Trustees considers whether to raise tuition around this time every year, according to President Pam Lau. She said the next potential increase would be in a year, or the board could hold the rate flat. 

Emily Hays is a reporter for Illinois Public Media. Follow her on Twitter@amihatt.

Picture of Emily Hays

Emily Hays

Emily Hays started at WILL in October 2021 after three-plus years in local newsrooms in Virginia and Connecticut. She has won state awards for her housing coverage at Charlottesville Tomorrow and her education reporting at the New Haven Independent. Emily graduated from Yale University where she majored in History and South Asian Studies.

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