Arundel community college to raise tuition

Board approves increase of $10 per credit for Jan.

November 02, 2003|By Laura Loh | Laura Loh,SUN STAFF

Noting dwindling state and county funding and a swelling student enrollment, Anne Arundel Community College has announced that it will raise tuition for classes starting in January, the second increase this school year.

The $10 increase per credit, approved last week by the Arnold college's Board of Trustees, means that the average full-time student will pay an extra $120 in total tuition for the spring term.

The tuition comes at a time when an increasing number of students statewide are choosing community colleges because four-year state universities also are raising tuition.

The increase at Anne Arundel Community College is expected to generate about $1.2 million in additional revenue during this fiscal year. It will offset losses in county and state funding of more than $12 million in the past two years, according to college officials.

"It's hardly going to answer all of our woes," said Linda Schulte, a spokeswoman for the college. "This is a difficult economic time for colleges everywhere."

The tuition increase - to $76 a credit for county residents, from $66 - is the first time the college has raised tuition in the middle of an academic year since 1991. Tuition went up $4 for this year's fall term.

Anne Arundel still has lower tuition than comparable community colleges, including those of Baltimore and Howard counties. Baltimore County charges $77 per credit for county residents; Howard charges $90 per credit.

Anne Arundel Community College officials have been grappling with fiscal constraints since last year, when they froze salaries for faculty and other employees and eliminated some positions. The college, which serves more than 14,000 students, also reduced spending on instructional equipment, facilities, security, business and financial services and human resources.

Paul Trader, president of the college's Student Association, said most students don't blame the college for the increase.

"I'm glad they're raising tuition instead of taking away some of the services," such as tutoring and late-night computer lab hours, said Trader, 19, a science major.

But Trader said he and others blame the county and state for cutting the college's budget, which was nearly $73 million this year.

"We're really infuriated," he said, adding that students are planning a letter-writing campaign targeting Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and state legislators. "We're going to do whatever it takes to get this worked out. We're not going to give up."

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