College's tuition going up $3 per credit increase to take effect in fall

more raises planned

Paying for technology

School president says colleges must adapt to Internet education

April 01, 1997|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,SUN STAFF

Carroll Community College is raising its tuition $3 per credit hour next fall and plans more increases next year to pay for state-of-the-art computers and software, President Joseph H. Shields has told the Board of County Commissioners.

For Shields, the underlying message is that the college is doing its part to fund technological advances in the fiscal 1998 budget and that the county should do likewise.

Shields wants the commissioners to include $450,000 in the county's capital budget to purchase new computers and "replace and replenish" old ones.

The college of the future will be more dependent on technology than "bricks and mortar," Shields told the commissioners at a budget hearing last week. "It is a radical change in thinking, but in the long run it will save money," he said.

Johns Hopkins University President William R. Brody was speaking for colleges and universities everywhere when he said in his Feb. 23 inaugural address that the Internet is changing the way people learn and that colleges will have to adapt, Shields said.

For Carroll, that adaptation begins this fall when the college will offer its first course over the Internet, Shields said. Initially, students will spend one day in a classroom and the other two days on the Internet.

Someday, the college will offer courses 24-hours-a-day, year-round over the Internet, said Alan Schuman, the college's vice president for administration. Ultimately, graduate students everywhere will earn master's and doctoral degrees over the global computer network, Schuman predicted.

Competition for students will not come from other colleges and universities, Shields said, but from business. Americans spend $100 billion a year on higher education, he said, "and business looks at that as a $100-billion-a-year market. If you don't think futuristically on this, you're out of it."

The Shields-Schuman budget presentation featured some of the technology they are requesting -- spinning graphics from a laptop computer to an overhead projector to make a seamless visual presentation.

The $450,000 capital request for computers in the next budget is only the beginning, the commissioners were told. The college says it will need $300,000 a year every year to keep up with technological advances and replace one-fifth of its equipment each year.

The older equipment will be used by the college office staff because computers "have a longer life in offices than in the classroom environment," Schuman said.

Without capital funding for computers and software, the college would have to raise tuition $7.50 per credit hour, Schuman told the commissioners. The college has decided to charge a $25-per-course fee for technology lab courses, he said.

The college has projected a 3 percent annual increase in revenue over the next five years, but expenses will increase by 4 percent each year in the same period, Schuman said.

As a result, the college will continue to increase tuition over the next five years to balance the budget, Schuman said. "We feel it will be a fairly reasonable increase," he said.

The $3 per credit hour increase coming this fall, for example, is still $2 below the statewide average of $65 per credit hour, Schuman said.

The college last raised tuition in fall 1996, increasing the rate $7, to $60 per credit hour.

Pub Date: 4/01/97

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