Fearful that another round of state budget cuts could force more program cuts, the president of the New Community College of Baltimore urged his faculty and students yesterday to plead with state legislators for continued funding.
"The college is between a rock and a hard place," said interim President James D. Tschechtelin during an open meeting at the Liberty Heights campus attended by more than 100 administrators, faculty and students.
A $1.7 million cut in state funding this fall has prompted the college to eliminate its mass communications program, cut five positions, reduce the number of free courses offered to senior citizens at nursing homes and senior centers, and cut back on travel, supplies and equipment purchases. But NCCB refused to raise its tuition, as many other community colleges did.
A tuition increase would have made it impossible for some students to attend NCCB, Mr. Tschechtelin said.
"We won't be a community college if we raise tuition," he explained.
That decision has made NCCB far cheaper than other area community colleges. It charges $35 per credit, compared with $48 at Essex, Dundalk and Catonsville community colleges, $53 at Howard Community College and $54 at Anne Arundel Community College.
But additional budget cuts could lead to the elimination of more of NCCB's 22 programs, hurting many of the school's 5,200 students.
The threat of more cuts comes at a time when NCCB, which was taken over by the state last year, has begun to shed its reputation as the most poorly managed community college in Maryland. After students abandoned the college in droves, NCCB posted its first enrollment gain in a decade this year.