In a contentious session, the Baltimore County Community College Board of Trustees voted last night to raise tuition to $48 per credit, a 23 percent increase.
The $9 increase, to apply to county residents among the system's 28,000 students, will become effective next semester.
It was passed by a board struggling with an $8.8 million shortfall in the county's community college system, stemming from the $450 million state deficit-reduction package approved last month by the Board of Public Works.
Tuition for out-of-county residents will jump from $74 per credit to $91, and for out-of-state students from $123 per credit to $151.
The board also approved a $5 first-time student registration fee and a $20 fee for senior citizens who take courses for credit.
Its actions are expected to raise a $1.9 million for the four community colleges under its oversight: Essex, Catonsville and Dundalk, and the Carroll County Community College, which is run as a branch of Catonsville.
The board's 8-2 vote came on a compromise measure after alternative proposals -- one that would have raised tuition by $11, another that would have raised it by $7 -- were debated and defeated.
Students disagreed about whether the increase was fair, but agreed that state cuts will hurt their schools.
"This is a stone that's going to roll downhill and do a lot of damage," said Fred Bartlett Jr., a second-year student at Catonsville Community College who was one of a half-dozen Student Government Association representatives from Catonsville at the session.
He noted that the SGA has been asked by the school's administration to contribute $6,500 toward its tutoring service. "Anyone who tells you there isn't going to be any programs or services cut is just lying," he said.