Anne Arundel Community College officials are already considering a tuition increase and looking for ways to cut expenses, but they fear action last week by the General Assembly might make the budget crunch worse.
While college trustees had been expected to raise tuition by $10 per credit hour, recommendations to cut campus supplies, faculty travel and other expenses might be augmented by more severe measures -- a hiring freeze and faculty layoffs.
County Executive Robert R. Neall got legislative approval Friday night for an amendment granting the county authority to cut from the college's $30 million operating budget, but college officials say they haven't heard any specifics from the Neall administration.
"The college is looking at some of the things already proposed," college spokeswoman Theone Relos said. "It may mean deeper cuts and possibly ahigher tuition hike. We're looking at that as a real possibility."
In the meantime, 19-year-old Jennifer Wittman, AACC Student Government Association president, said students from the 17 community colleges statewide are organizing to protest the cuts.
"We've formed an association and are putting together a petition," Wittman said. "We know we can't get our funds back that have been cut, but we want to head off any chance of being cut again in January (when the General Assembly session begins).
"We want the state to know that we as students have had enough," she said. "If they cut us again, the quality oflife here will go down."
Wittman also said she is planning a student budget workshop in two weeks to explain the financial crisis to the 13,000 students seeking college credit at the Arnold campus.