East Central Community College in Decatur is among the state's community colleges to announce a tuition increase for the 2013-14 academic year.

East Central is one of 11 community colleges to increase tuition and other fees, according to a recent published report from the Mississippi Community College Board.

State officials cite part of the reason for the increase is now that the economy is improving, people are going back to work, thus reducing enrollment levels and cutting tuition income.

"Increasing tuition is necessary to ease the financial burden of the community and junior colleges," said Dr. Eric Clark, State Board executive director. "Sometimes it is necessary just to pay the bills."

Tuition will increase $50 per semester at EC, from $940 to $990.

Fees for part-time students also increase, from $90 to $95 per credit hour.

Cost for meals also rises, from $765 to $790 for a five-day plan, and from $920 to $970 for a seven-day meal ticket. 

Despite the increase, East Central remains an educational bargain, according to EC President Dr. Billy Stewart.

"We never like to raise tuition, but it is necessary due to budgetary challenges the college is currently facing," said Dr. Stewart.

"Although we were forced to raise our full-time tuition cost slightly, we are the only community/junior college in the state with fees less than $1,000 per semester. So we are still very economical in comparison to other colleges and universities and we will continue to offer the highest quality of instruction and services to students through our talented faculty and dedicated staff."

All other semester fees remain the same.

East Central offers several orientation/registration sessions for new and transfer students planning to attend the 2013 fall semester.

Remaining sessions are scheduled Friday, July 12; and Friday, August 9.

Fall classes begin Wednesday, August 14.

For more information, contact Student Services, 601-635-6205 or call toll free, 877-462-3222, ext. 205. The email address is rlee@eccc.edu.