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Differential Tuition

Pima Community College charges additional tuition, known as differential tuition, for courses that are more costly for the College to offer. Examples of some factors that may make classes cost more to offer include: class size requirements of accrediting agencies, or expensive equipment that must be regularly updated to meet industry standards.

Courses Affected by Differential Tuition

Differential tuition is applied by course prefix (the three-letter code in parentheses, below).  There are two levels of differential tuition:  Differential Tuition A and Differential Tuition B.

Differential tuition rates apply to courses based on course prefix, not to entire programs. For example:

  • a Nursing student will pay differential tuition for a Nursing (NRS) course but will not pay differential tuition for non-Nursing courses such as Writing (WRT).
  • a student in the Welding program will pay differential tuition for those courses with a course prefix of WLD, but not for a Math (MAT) course.

Disciplines affected by differential tuition will be re-assessed each year based on the relative cost to offer the courses in the discipline. 

Differential Tuition A and B

Consult the College's tuition schedules for more information on general and differential tuition for in-state resident and non-resident students.

Differential Tuition A

Beginning July 1, 2013 the following disciplines fall under Differential Tuition A:

Aviation Technology (AVM)
Dental Assisting Education (DAE)
Fashion Design (FDC*)
Fitness and Sports (FSS)
Interior Design (IDE)
Law Enforcement Academy (LEA)
Machine Tool Technology (MAC)

Massage Therapy (TMA)
Med Lab Tech (MLT*)
Music Studio Instruction (MUP)
Respiratory Therapy (RTH)
Travel Industry Operations (TVL)
Veterinary Technology (VET)
Welding (WLD)

* excluding FDC 288 and MLT 110 which are charged general tuition

Differential Tuition B

Beginning July 1, 2013 the following disciplines fall under Differential Tuition B:

Clinical Research (CRC)
Dental Hygiene (DHE)
Dental Lab Technology (DLT)
Nursing (NRS)


Radiologic Technology (RAD)
Technology (TEC)
Truck Driver (TDT)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Some of the classes I intend to take next semester will be affected by differential tuition, but others will not. How can I figure out how much tuition I will pay next semester?
The College has created a Tuition Calculation worksheet [PDF] that you can use as an aid when calculating tuition.  Essentially, Total Tuition equals Tuition for credit hours of courses with General Tuition + Tuition for credit hours of courses with Differential Tuition A + Tuition for credit hours of courses with Differential Tuition B. 

Consult the college's tuition schedules for more information on general and differential tuition for in-state resident and non-resident students.

Q. Why do some disciplines fall under Differential Tuition A and others under Differential Tuition B?
To qualify for differential tuition, the cost of a discipline’s courses had to be at least the double the College median for two or more consecutive years.

Courses falling under Differential Tuition A cost the College between 2.0 and 3.9 times the median for two straight years.  Courses falling under Differential Tuition B cost the College more than 4.0 times the median for two straight years. 

Q. Will the list of disciplines falling into Differential Tuition A and Differential Tuition B change in the future?
Possibly. Disciplines affected by differential tuition will be re-assessed each year based on the cost to offer the courses in the discipline.

Q. I am a student whose tuition is paid for by my employer. What should I do?
If you have a tuition sponsor such as an employer or another third-party agency, confirm directly with your contact in that agency whether differential tuition will be covered.

Q. I am a military veteran. The Veterans Administration is paying my tuition. What should I do?
If your tuition and fees are paid directly to the College by the Veterans Administration through Chapter 33, or paid to you directly, confirm with the College’s Veterans Office that your certification includes any applicable differential tuition.

Q.  I currently am a member of the military, which is paying my tuition. What should I do?
If your tuition and fees are paid by a military tuition assistance program, confirm that the reimbursement amounts on the tuition assistance authorization form include any applicable differential tuition.

Q:  What about cross-listed courses?  I’m interested in taking a Fashion Design and Clothing Course that is also listed as an Art course.
Students taking officially cross-listed courses – those that appear under two disciplines – will be charged the lower of the two tuition rates.  Cross-listed courses affected by differential tuition are listed at the bottom of the tuition schedules.

Courses that are shown as options in Program displays (e.g., CIS 136 or TEC 130) are not cross-listed classes.  Each of these courses will have the tuition applied to the discipline based on course prefix.

Q: Some of my classes have course fees as well as differential tuition. Will those fees continue to be assessed?
Yes. Most course-specific fees are assessed to pay for materials used in the course. They are unrelated to the discipline-wide costs that are addressed by assessment of differential tuition.

Q: Will high school students who take part in high school dual-enrollment classes be affected by differential tuition?
No.

Q: Will Full Academic Year classes be affected by differential tuition?
Yes.  Full Academic Year courses with differential tuition prefixes will be assessed differential tuition.