Tuition increases for students and two-day furloughs for faculty members are among the tough choices the Anne Arundel Community College Board of Trustees will face at 7:30 tonight.
The college, like the Board of Education and almost every county department, must stretch alean budget and prepare for the possibility of more state cuts in January.
Already, the state has asked the college to trim $3.1 million from its $30 million operating budget. Secretarial and clerical vacancies are not being filled, and staff members have been told to curtail travel and reduce orders for supplies and materials.
The trustees' meeting will be in the cafeteria on the Arnold campus. Students and the public are invited to comment on the cost-containment plan.
"I expect a large turnout," Dean of Academic Affairs James Atwell said. "There's a high degree of interest in the way the board will adjust in this financial situation. There is quite an interest in how the pain will be distributed."
The cost-cutting plan recommends a tuitionincrease of no less than $10 per credit for the spring semester and furloughs for employees.
Students pay $44 per credit hour, and college President Thomas Florestano says each $90,000 the college must cut equals $1 in tuition increases. Students also may be asked to pay a tuition surcharge when they register.
AACC's trustees also are considering layoffs and the elimination of remedial programs and free services for seniors.
College officials do not believe the financial storm will quickly blow over.
Instead, they foresee a new direction for community colleges in the state, including partnerships withthe private sector for capital projects and a "first-come, first-served" policy for students.
Large numbers of transfer students are filling liberal arts classes and in many ways will dictate the direction of the college. Enrollment has increased by 400 students this fall, and more are expected for the spring semester.
Students may see user fees for career programs, and the college may offer county residents fewer non-credit hobby courses.
"I think people have recognized now that the situation our college is dealing with is not particular to it," Atwell said. "I don't think people are looking for villains or someone to blame. They are looking for solutions."