Most students at Pima Community College will pay 4.4 percent more to go to school this fall.

The college's Governing Board voted 3-2 late Wednesday to hike tuition rates and related fees, despite pleas on behalf of students to hold the line on such costs.

The increases are "simply ridiculous" considering that PCC has squandered hundreds of thousand dollars in recent years on corrupt contracts with questionable consultants, Jeannette Studer, a former division dean at PCC's east campus, told the board.

"You've not been good stewards of the dollars you already have," Studer said.

Michael Lopez, student life coordinator at PCC's downtown campus, agreed, calling it "incredible" that the board would raise costs for students who often "don't have money for a bus to get to school,"

Board chairwoman Brenda Even voted to approve the increases, along with board members Scott Stewart and David Longoria.

Board members Sylvia Lee and Marty Cortez were opposed.

The changes approved will add about $60 a year to the basic tuition bill for full-time, in-state students taking 30 credits a year, bringing their total tuition tab to $1,965

That doesn't include extras such as student services fees or technology fees, which also will rise by 50 cents per-credit hour.

Similar increases were approved for out-of-state students.

The changes will give PCC another $1.8 million or so next school year to help pay for items such as higher health care and retirement costs and, possibly, raises of between 1 and 3 percent for PCC employees, who received 3.5 percent raises this year.

David Bea, the college's finance director, said even with the increases, PCC's tuition is among the lowest in the state.

Tuition is PCC's second-largest source of revenue after property taxes.

The college collected about $57 million in tuition and fees from its students this school year after raising rates by about 8 percent.

not a candidate

Suzanne Miles, Pima Community College's interim chancellor, is no longer in the running for the top job at an Oregon school.

Mt. Hood Community College near Portland announced Wednesday that Miles has withdrawn her name as a finalist for the president's job there.

A brief statement on the Mt. Hood website noted that Miles' job performance "has come under scrutiny recently" at the Tucson school.

Miles was faulted for having questionable ethics and for misleading PCC's accreditor about the school's problems in a recent investigative report by the accreditor, the Chicago-based Higher Learning Commission.

Miles announced a few days ago she is stepping down as interim chancellor but will stay on at PCC as president of its community campus.

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at or at 573-4138.