College trustees approve budget, 9% tuition rise

March 03, 1993|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Staff Writer

The board of trustees at Howard Community College has approved a $26.6 million budget for next school year, a proposal that calls for a tuition increase of almost 9 percent.

The budget is a "maintenance" budget that keeps current programs and provides money to hire three more professors and give salary increases for part-time faculty, college officials said. The budget is about 8 percent more than last year's and asks for close to $1 million -- or 13 percent -- more from the county.

"It's a budget that's adequate," said the college's president, Dwight A. Burrill. "It does not really accommodate the growth that we have. The fiscal situation in the state and county are difficult. I guess we have to live with that."

Student enrollment at the college has increased about 12 percent the past two years to about 5,000 students this year. "We've had inflation of 3.5 percent, and last year about the same," Mr. Burrill said. "If you put the growth and inflation together, this budget really keeps [pace] with the growth that happened last year."

The budget includes the $382,000 cost of paying Social Security for college employees, an expense previously paid by the state, and a 2.5 percent cost-of-living and merit salary increases for employees.

County Budget Director Ray Wacks said he did not know if the county would be able to fund the college's request. "We have to consider this in light of all the other requests we've received," he said. "The 13 percent [increase] would be the largest request we have."

The county has "tried to shield HCC from as many state cuts as possible, but we have limited resources," Mr. Wacks said. "We'll do our best, but we won't make any promises. It's going to be difficult."

Mr. Burrill said either tuition would have to go up or cuts would have to be made again if the County Council trimmed the college's spending proposal.

There will be a hearing at 7:30 tonight at the George Howard Building in Ellicott City for the public to comment on all proposals the county has received for next year.

Under the trustees' proposal, students would pay $63 a credit, $5 more than the current tuition rate. Part-time faculty would get an 8 per cent salary increase, or $33 more than the current rate of $415 per credit hour, the lowest in the area.

"I think it's critical we keep pace with other institutions around that are using part-time faculty," said Mr. Burrill, who added that the college has lost some fine part-time professors to nearby institutions.

The budget earmarks $30,000 to partially open a new grants office, which would help find outside money for the college. College officials expect the grants office eventually to pay for itself.

"There are a lot of specific needs the college has that we cannot cover under the budget; the obvious one is in equipment," Mr. Burrill said. "There are some special programs that we're hoping to start like the Rouse Scholars Program, which requires money."

The budget slashes $21,000 from furniture and equipment purchases and $31,000 from a maintenance helper position, which would have been needed to allow the college to expand to the Hickory Ridge Building.

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