Expect an increase in your community college tuition

It's going to get more expensive to go to community college.

Illinois lawmakers are telling local colleges not to expect any new money from the state next year.

But lawmakers are not saying when, or if, they're going to pay community colleges what the state already owes.

Community college officials learned of the proposed flat budget Wednesday. State Representative Jil Tracy says a flat budget shouldn't hurt local schools in the short run.

"John Wood understands (their funding) is not going to be increased, because the state doesn't have it at this point. So they're willing to do their part," said Tracy.

John Wood President Tom Klincar says the school used to expect almost a quarter of their budget from the state. Now, he plans for just ten percent, since the school's made cuts of its own.

"We've combined jobs and said goodbye to a lot of good people, including some of our administration and directors. We lost about thirty employees out of 200 full timers on staff," said Dr. Klincar.

Klincar says JWCC also increased its tuition from $107 a credit hour to $127 to help with the cutbacks, but says that shouldn't hurt the school's enrollment. It's still about one-third the cost of state schools like Western Illinois or the University of Illinois.

The Illinois House has begun the process of crafting a state budget, they expect more hearings later this week. A final spending plan is not due to Governor Pat Quinn until the end of May.