PASCO, Wash. -- The cost of college continues to climb across the state. During the 2012-2013 school year, tuition rose 12% for all community colleges and technical schools as mandated by the legislature. Columbia Basin College in Pasco, is making its best efforts to offset the costs to students.
Friday, the CBC Foundation managed to give out a record $528,786 in 364 scholarships to 319 students at the Pasco Red Lion. 38 students in their second year of the school's nursing program all received $2,000.
"A lot of pressure is off because half of my tuition for each quarter is paid for," said Whitney Gillen, a recipient in the nursing program.
"My wife has been a nurse for 30 some years and she was a recipient of a number of scholarships so she appreciated that support," said Tom Harper who donates every year to the school.
The record number of money couldn't have come at a better time with the rising cost of living. "Books alone were $700, tuition was about $1,400, it really adds up quickly," said Christina Bowers, in the dental hygienist program. So the Foundation stepped up their game. "We were able to raise the average college scholarship award that we gave to two $2,000 from 1500 dollars," said the CBC Foundation Director Bob Rosselli.
Despite the rise in tuition causing a general drop in community college enrollment, CBC numbers keep on climbing to nearly 100 more students than last year, with tuition for a full time student averaging $4,400 a year. "It didn't effect us probably for a number of reasons, the health of the economy in the Tri-Cities and more people needing better education and in some cases get retrained," said Frank Murray with the school.
Murray says much of their enrollment increase has to do with more high school students taking advantage of the Running Start program, which allows them to take college classes at CBC free of charge.Murray says there are just under 700 students enrolled in that program.