ESSEX — It sounds like a scene out of "The Twilight Zone": College students actually wanted officials to raise tuition.
But it was real Wednesday, when Carroll Community College freshman Pam R. Genco told the Baltimore County Community Colleges Board of Trustees that students support a proposed fee increase of $2 per credit.
Genco was also present to see the board vote unanimously to approve Joseph F. Shields as the new executive dean of CCC.
Students are aware of the budget crunch and realize that in order to maintain services, fees must be raised, said Genco, a 19-year-old elementary education major and student government member.
"The students would much rather have that burden and get the services that we're now getting at Carroll, rather than have services cut," Genco told the board atthe meeting in Baltimore County. "It (added cost) would be the equivalent of a student not going to the movies twice a semester."
Before the meeting, Genco and the other student representatives met with the two deans of students from Essex and Dundalk Community Colleges to plan strategies and review their presentations to the board.
"Inthe end, (the increases will) help us," Genco said. "The community college is growing, and we need more faculty as more students come in."
Without the additional money, some course sections will have to be canceled,lasses would be larger, and full-time faculty would not be hired, said Alan M. Schuman, CCC's director of administration. About 10 summer school sections were already cut as a direct result of the budget crunch, he said.
The board heard the pleas of Genco, and the other two student representatives, before voting, 5-1, with one abstention, in support of the plan.
That means, effective immediately, it will cost $39 per credit at CCC. Students enrolled in summer courses will be notified by mail, said John Q. Kluttz III, chairman ofthe board.
"Tuition increases are something that everyone hates,"Kluttz said. "It's more or less a matter of last resort."
According to the latest figures, Carroll Community College has a $413,487 shortfall in its budget for next year.
"On the basis of these overwhelming numbers, . . . there has to be a tuition increase," said HenryH. Stansbury, chairman of the board's finance committee. The tuitionincrease would bring in an additional $68,000 for the school.
"You are not placing the burden of the shortfall 100 percent on the students," Stansbury said. "This will bring back between 20 to 30 percentof the shortfall. They still have to make cuts."
But board memberAlan J. Ferguson said other areas such as overtime pay, use of enterprise funds and summer school should be considered to make the cuts.
"There are a number of areas I think should be looked at before weincrease tuition," said Ferguson, explaining his reason for voting against raising the fee.
In other action, the board voted unanimously to approve Shields, 57, as executive dean of Carroll Community College.
Shields, who begins July 8, will receive a salary of $59,368, said Frederick J. Walsh, president of Catonsville Community College, CCC's parent institution.
"Everybody thinks he's a great person and will be super in the job," Walsh said.
He said that Shields was chosen because of his "breadth of experience and the proven track record."
Shields, a former Maryland resident and dean of continuingeducation at Prince George's Community College, is leaving his current position of executive officer at the U.S.-run Panama Canal Collegeto assume the new post.