The Linn-Benton Community College Board of Education voted Wednesday to rescind a resolution it passed in March that was set to raise tuition by 7% and replace it with a 4% increase.
Also at the meeting, LBCC President Greg Hamann told the board that he intended to retire at the end of June 2020.
The tuition change is contingent on the passage of state funding in the Legislature.
The resolution will save students approximately $4 per course credit.
Hamann called the opportunity to walk back the tuition increase “very cool” but cautioned the board not to take it as a sign that state funding for higher education would continue to rise in coming years.
“We’re getting more money because the receipts of the last quarter of this biennium came back higher than the legislature expected,” he said. “We should not have confidence that this is an indicator of increased funding in the future.”
Hamann also told the board he did not recommend adding back personnel in the current economic climate.
When the board voted to increase tuition by 7% in March, it was under the assumption community colleges would receive $590 million. Hamann told the board Wednesday that number has since jumped to $640.9 million.
“We’re confident,” he said regarding the probability the Legislature would approve the new figure. “It’s going to be voted on in the House tomorrow and no one’s walking out of the House, so it should be OK there,” he said, referencing a threat from Senate Republicans to walk out over the proposed cap-and-trade legislation.
The Senate is scheduled to vote early next week.
While the rollback of the tuition increase drew the most attention on the agenda, an item not listed on drew silence from the board when Hamann announced his retirement.
“It is with a sense of humble pride that I have had the privilege of being part of this community, the honor of lending my hand at leading a community in work that has so much potential to change lives and communities for the better,” he said. “I am grateful beyond words for this opportunity but I feel a calling to some new venture.”
Hamann cited mixed emotions in his decision but said he was confident the board would have ample time to hire a new president.
Board members, who approved a contract extension for Hamann earlier in the meeting, expressed their shock with member Linda Modrell stating, “Well, I’m not happy.” Members then thanked him for his service and wished him well.
Hamann’s retirement is effective June 30, 2020.