Hcc Considers Tuition Increase

Raise Would Help Pay For New Faculty Hires And Equipment

February 23, 1992|By Kevin Thomas | Kevin Thomas,Staff writer

Howard Community College officials are considering a tuition increase that would cost the average student anywhere from $35 to $140 more each semester starting next fall.

The increase is built into a $15.2 million budget for fiscal 1993 that HCC President Dwight Burrill unveiled to the school's Board of Trustees last week.

The school's growing enrollment, which increased 10 percent last fall, is requiring HCC to hire more faculty and expand resources, Burrill said.

The budget, which represents an 8.4 percent increase, calls for hiring 10 new faculty members and purchasing approximately $254,000 in new equipment and software.

Under the proposal, a tuition increase could range between $5 and $20 per credit hour. The increase will depend on the amount of state funding the community college receives this year.

College officials last week presented a worst-case scenario, referred to as the "doomsday" budget, which would require the average student taking seven credits to pay $511 in tuition per semester, compared with the current $371 rate.

But Burrill saidhe doubts that the doomsday budget will be implemented.

Instead, Burrill said that officials in Annapolis have indicated that funding to HCC will increase enough that only the smaller tuition increase will be necessary.

At the $5 rate, the student taking seven semesterhours would pay a tuition of $406 a semester.

"I think people recognize that the most important thing is to continue to improve the quality of the institution," said Burrill, who presented the budget at a public hearing Wednesday.

He said he did not expect significant opposition to a tuition increase.

Students interviewed at the college seemed to agree.

Sue Kluckhuhn, who began taking accounting atthe college last fall, said she would accept an increase because themoney appears to be going to things that benefit students.

"I'll pay it to get the education," Kluckhuhn said. "This is my only chanceand besides I'll get the money back in return with my new job."

Susan Lemon, a student in medical office technology, said she would prefer to pay more if quality at the college continues to improve.

"Besides, I'm going to have to live with it (a tuition increase), if Iwant to continue to come here," she said.

Still, Burrill's budgetfaces possible revision by the school's trustees before being submitted to County Executive Charles I. Ecker in mid-March. The County Council will have final approval this summer.

The proposed budget calls for county funding to the college to remain at $7.1 million, the level appropriated for the current fiscal year. Ecker has asked all departments in the county to submit budgets that reflect what the county currently is funding.

The level of state funding is more in doubt. College officials went into the current fiscal year with $3.2 million in state funds, but had the amount sliced by $1.2 million in December because of state revenue shortfalls.

The reductions forced the college to raise tuition by $6 per credit hour, to its current level of $57.

In addition, five positions were eliminated from the college staff, resulting in four layoffs.

Among those laid off were the director of athletics, coordinator of the college television studio, supervisor of the micro-computer lab and the chief of grounds keeping. A receptionist position was left vacant.

Regardless of state funding, Burrill said he wants to stick with the 8.4 percent increasein revenues over the college's current budget of $14 million. Adjustments in state funding would be offset by increases in tuition, he said.

Under the proposed budget, those people laid off would not be rehired.

Instead, 10 new faculty members would be added; one in nursing, two in mathematics, two in communications, one in anatomy and physiology, one in computer aided design, one in physical science, one in computer systems and one in art.

Last fall's enrollment increase brought the number of degree-seeking pupils to 4,883.

The community college currently has a faculty and staff of approximately 250.The budget includes no salary increase for faculty.

In addition to new faculty, the proposed budget would allow the college to purchase a variety of equipment and software, including new library books, computer disc and laboratory supplies.

Also, the budget would allocate $100,000 to a student scholarship fund, which would bring fiscal 1993 funding for the scholarship to $200,000. Burrill said the increase is necessary to offset tuition increases for students with financial needs.

At the hearing, response to Burrill's budget was generally low key from the approximately 100 participants, mostly faculty.

Pat Turner, vice president of the Faculty Forum, said that most faculty members would welcome a balance between "judiciously" increasingthe number of faculty members and providing for other instructional needs.

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