College president asks legislators to support funding

January 08, 1995|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,Sun Staff Writer

Harford Community College's interim president asked the Harford County delegation to "have their antenna up and maintain funding" for the college during the 1995 General Assembly, which opens Wednesday.

Acting President W. Stephen Pannill sought the legislative support at a breakfast meeting Thursday to keep the percentage of state money the college received last year at the same level this year.

Mr. Pannill said the college could lose $77,000 if no extra money is added to a state budget request for Maryland's 18 community colleges. HCC's chunk of the state pie was $4.4 million in fiscal year 1995.

"The state needs to come to grips with the reality of what the state level of support is and can be for the college," Mr. Pannill said.

The meeting, on the HCC campus, was attended by Sen.-elect '' David R. Craig and Del.-elect Nancy Jacobs, Republicans from District 34; Del. Rosemary Hatem Bonsack and Del. Mary Louise Preis, Democrats from District 34; Del. James M. Harkins, a Republican from District 35A; and Del. Donald C. Fry, a Democrat from District 35A, along with community college trustees, administrators and local business people.

Mr. Pannill said the amount of state money that a community college receives is based on a complicated formula that uses such criteria as enrollment and growth.

He said Harford's spring enrollment is 5,304, down slightly less than 1 percent from last year, but is expected to grow in coming years as the projected student population in county high schools increases.

"I see community colleges in the forefront of this decade and the next century," Mr. Fry said. "Community colleges are having a greater role every year in education."

But, he added, "We'll be looking at you to do more -- with less."

Mr. Pannill also asked the legislators to support funds for a $3 million classroom building that is in the design stage. The college anticipates starting construction on the building early this spring, he said.

He raised concerns about the transfer of college credits from one institution to another, such as from a two-year college to a four-year university.

"We need an equitable deal in transfers across the state," he said. "It needs to be improved and it needs to be improved in the short term."

Transferring credits "is the most important thing people want us to do," Mrs. Preis agreed. "We need to keep them encouraged."

Mr. Pannill reported that the Edgewood Hall Apprenticeship and Training Center, which houses general classrooms, the Sheriff's Academy and the Harford County Electrical Apprenticeship Program, will open next weekend and that the Higher Education Applied Technology (HEAT) Center near Aberdeen is on schedule to be completed June 1.

When Dr. Bonsack expressed concern about the future needs of science and advanced technical students in the area, Mr. Pannill said, "HEAT is an important piece of that. We're making an important niche for our region."

Mr. Pannill announced that the college signed an agreement Wednesday with the University of Maryland system that would allow it to negotiate with the 13 institutions of higher education in the group to offer programs at the HEAT center. The community college already has agreements with Loyola College for master's programs and the College of Notre Dame for baccalaureate programs.

He said the community college expects to sign an agreement with Morgan State University's engineering school to provide graduate programs.

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