A new school year will start soon for local community colleges, which will face plenty of challenges.
East Central Community College in Decatur will begin its fall semester Aug. 20. The cost for students is higher than ever. For the first time in years, East central has implemented a tuition increase. But ECCC officials say it's worth it.
"A five percent budget cut will hit us at right around $400,000 reduced revenue," said ECCC president, Dr. Phil Sutphin. "We hope to make up some of that in increased revenue from student tuition."
Even still, it runs in the middle of all the state's community colleges.
There are some changes around campus, such as the construction of the new Davis Science Building. The rest of the changes will not be as obvious.
"Anything that we do, we want it to be transparent to the student so that when the student comes and sits in the classroom, they don't notice," Sutphin said.
Dr. Sutphin says a lot of good things are going on, and he also said that enrollment was up for the summer by as much as 25 percent. Enrollment is also up for the fall.
"I think it's because of the economy," said Sutphin. "Folks see the value of education in the job market."
There is one final orientation for new students, Friday, Aug. 14.