For the second consecutive year, the East Central College Board of Trustees unanimously approved an increase in tuition and student fees.

The action was taken Monday night during the board’s monthly meeting.

The board previously had approved a tuition hike of 7.6 percent for the fall semester of 2012 and about the same amount in 2011. However, before those increases the college had not raised tuition in six years.

Students enrolling for the fall 2013 semester can expect a 5.6 percent increase for tuition and an overall increase of $4 for student fees.

That means tuition for in-district students will go from $71 to $75 per credit hour, while out-of-district students who previously paid $101 will now pay $106 per credit hour.

Out-of-state students will see an increase of $8 per credit hour to $160 and international tuition will raise $9 to $173 per credit hour. However, less than 1 percent of students are out-of-state or international.

Revenue from the tuition increase is expected to generate approximately $320,000 in the general fund.

“This will allow us to meet current expenses,” said Dr. Jon Bauer, college president. “We continue to see inflation and costs continue to go up.”

Bauer said the tuition increase also will help meet some staffing needs that haven’t been addressed in recent years.

“We’ve been putting off the need to fulfill some of the needs of our faculty and staff,” he said. “And there was no raise this year for the first time in many years. Next year, we’d like to see at least a modest increase (in salaries).”

General fees, which Bauer said were last raised in 2002, will increase from $4.50 to $5 for student activities, from $2.50 to $3.50 for support services and from $3 to $5 for technology.

The hike in general fees will allow for improvements in areas such as security on and off campus.

“We’ll be able to enhance security,” Bauer said. “There are evening hours at off-campus locations where people are in class but there’s no other presence.”

Bauer said one of his goals is to install more video surveillance on campus and at satellite locations.

The student fee increase also will allow the college to upgrade some of its technology and software systems, such as the student information system.

Course fees for some classes will also be raised.

The most notable fee increase will be in culinary arts, which will go from $35 to $125 to help defray the cost of consumables required for the course.

In the EMT program, the fees will see an increase of $20 and a $15 increase will be implemented in the nursing program. Fees in precision machining and physical education will also go up by about $15 to $20.

Bauer said even with the increases the rate of tuition and general fees, ECC will remain the lowest of any institution in Missouri.

“No increase in tuition and /or fees is taken lightly,” he said. “We are committed to being affordable for students, while at the same time providing outstanding quality.”

This year ECC has an operating budget of $18 million. State aid accounts for 26.3 percent of the money coming into the college. More than 33 percent comes from local sales tax revenue and student tuition and fees account for almost 39 percent of the revenue.

The final budget and staffing plan will be presented in May.