Hcc Tuition May Rise Due To Cuts

October 06, 1991|By Samuel Goldreich | Samuel Goldreich,Staff writer

Harford Community College students might face higher tuition next semester after Maryland's latest round of deficit-induced budget cuts.

College officials scrambled last week to balance their books when the state Board of Public Works cut almost $1.5 million in aid Wednesday as part of Gov. William Donald Schaefer's $446 million budget reduction plan. The college was hit harder than any other county agency,losing 31 percent of its $4.6 million state support.

HCC President Richard Pappas said he will advise the Board of Trustees Oct. 24 of plans to raise money and trim programs to make up for the sudden loss of 10 percent of the college's $14.6 million budget.

"We're looking at every possibility, and that includes a tuitionincrease," he said.

Pappas estimated that tuition would have to increase about $20 per credit hour from the $43 county residents pay, if tuition boosts were to replace the loss in state money.

"But that's not going to happen," he said. "It wouldn't be appropriate to make students take the entire hit."

When students return for the spring semester in January, they might be greeted with scaled-back services ranging from the library to athletic programs, college administrators say.

"We're not panicking," Pappas said. "We're trying to avoid layoffs. We're trying to preserve our instructional area."

He reeled off a list of threatened initiatives, beginning with an effort to catch up with other community colleges in instructional equipment.

The college has very little room to cut without laying off teachers, because it spends 77 percent of its budget on salaries and benefits.

In the past year, the college established new scholarship funds for minorities and women and targeted them for recruitment.

But Pappas said the college might lose a remedial mathematics instructor needed to help some students adjust to college-level study.

Efforts to expand high-technology course offerings could also be stalled bythe loss of two instructors in computer-assisted drafting and manufacturing design.

Like all Maryland community colleges, HCC lost 25 percent of its state allocation in the budget cuts. But the loss of almost $300,000 for Social Security and retirement as well means that the college will receive a total of 31 percent less than what the state originally promised.

State support dropped while the college copes with a student body that is between 7 percent and 10 percent larger than last year's 4,120, Pappas said.

"We're actually lower (in terms of state support) than we were some years ago when we had two-thirds fewer students," Pappas noted.

The $1.5 million cut has lowered state support to 21.7 percent of the college's budget, down from the original 31.7 percent approved by the General Assembly.

The college has relied more heavily on tuition and other student fees in recent years, which have climbed from under 25 percent of the budget in1987 to 30.6 percent this year.

County residents paid $30 per credit hour in 1987, $13 less than this year.

County Executive EileenRehrmann is weighing how to distribute $4 million she set aside in anticipation of cuts in state aid.

The county government, includingthe college, lost almost $3.7 million. That figure does not include state grant cuts to social services providers in Harford.

The county has paid for a lesser share of the college's budget in recent years, declining from more than 40 percent in 1987 to 35.5 percent this year.

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