Hcc Tuition Increase To Offset State Aid Cut

October 27, 1991|By Samuel Goldreich | Samuel Goldreich,Staff writer

Harford Community College president Richard Pappas said he needed a $10 tuition increase for the spring semester to help balance a deficit created by state aid cuts.

The school's Board of Trustees gave him $13 per credit hour.

Board chairman Nicholas L. Gounaris said it was worth the extra $90,000 the higher fee will raise to avoid seven to eight layoffs thatwould have led to cuts in computer laboratory time, library hours and clerical support.

"We are not fulfilling our obligations if we are standing still or falling backward," he said.

The emergency budget the board passed Thursday night gives Pappas the authority to make the staffing cuts, but doing so would more than replace the $1.46 million lost in the state's plan to balance its $450 million deficit.

The new college budget relies on a $390,000 increase in tuition revenues and about $1.28 million in cuts. The plan would create a $210,450 financial cushion to protect against a drop in enrollment among the college's 5,400 credit students and 12,000 non-credit students.

The loss of 31 percent of state aid -- 10 percent of the college budget -- has forced the institution to begin reexamining its mission.

"On the one hand, do we have seniors? On the other hand, do we havetransitional students who expect -- who must have -- additional help?" asked trustee Ann B. Ramsey. "Which do we fund? Which don't we fund?"

The college began revamping by eliminating its senior citizen's program, which provides special free courses on health and nutrition in nursing homes and senior centers.

"This does not mean that seniors will no longer be able to come to our classes (on campus), it just means no more exclusive senior classes," Pappas said. "While thisis critical to our mission, it's not part of our academic program."

Seniors will still be able to attend classes on campus for free but the loss of 510 classes will eliminate 35 part-time faculty jobs.

The college also cut $697,705 from an instructional priority fund that included a transitional math teacher, staff for financial aide and finance and equipment for technical programs, such as computers andvocational training.

The college also is closing its bowling alley, eliminated out-of-state travel for staff and cut from 20 to 15 thenumber of vacation days employees can carry into a new year.

HCC's new $56 tuition is more than any community college in the state charged before the most recent budget crisis, said Sue Dowden, associateexecutive director of the Maryland State Board for Community Colleges.

But all 27 of the colleges are considering tuition increases because the state cut their budgets by an equal percentage.

For example, Howard Community College was considering raising its $47 tuitionby $5 to $15 per credit hour last week, and Prince George's Community College added a temporary surcharge of $15 to $25 to its $55 fee, Dowden said.

The Harford trustees voted to consider cutting tuitionin June if economic conditions improve or if the county can offer financial help.

"We do believe that they will have to have some combination of budget cuts and tuition increase," county administrator Larry Klimovitz said Friday. "If we think it's necessary, we will help them."

But the county is trying to balance its own budget, which lost another $.9 million in state aid.

Although the Maryland law mandates the level of state aid community colleges receive, Pappas saidHCC should not expect to have that money restored when fiscal year 1993 begins July 1, 1992.

Further cuts next year would require trimming athletic programs and layoffs, Pappas said.

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