HJC to freeze tuition for local students

January 22, 1998


Staff Writer

Hagerstown Junior College plans to freeze tuition for in-county students for the first time in more than a decade, but out-of-state students could end up paying as much as $810 more a year starting this fall.

Out-of-county tuition is expected to rise $15 to $111 per credit hour and out-of-state tuition would rise $27 to $150 per credit hour. That would mean an increase of $450 for full-time out-of-county students and $810 for full-time out-of-state students.

In-county students pay $70 per credit hour.

HJC President Norman P. Shea said the state is mandating that the college increase out-of-state tuition to triple the in-county rate and raise the out-of-county rate to double the in-county rate over five years.


Shea said that would hurt the college because much of the growth in students is from Pennsylvania looking for quality, reasonably priced education.

Shea said about 600 of the college's 3,000 students come from Pennsylvania and a handful come from West Virginia.

Shea said a bill to be introduced in the state legislature this year would eliminate the mandate and give colleges discretion on setting rates.

Shea said the mandate doesn't make sense for colleges near other states. He said if the out-of-state rates are raised too high, enrollment will drop and the college will have to cancel some courses, limiting choices for all students.

Out-of-state students interviewed this week on campus said they would be squeezed by the increases.

"One of the reasons I came here is because it was affordable," said Judy Zimmerman, 18, of Mercersburg, Pa. She said she's receiving some financial aid but still pays $400 a semester as a full-time student.

"I think it's high enough as it is," she said.

"I'm afraid I'd have to go somewhere else," said Jason Frain, 23, of Waynesboro, Pa.

As of Jan. 19, the college's enrollment was up by about 5 percent over last year, Shea said.

Wayne Alter Jr., president of the HJC board of directors, told the Washington County Commissioners Tuesday that the college planned to ask for an increase in funding for next year of between $200,000 or $250,000, depending on how much the college received from the state. The commissioners approved spending $4 million on the college this year.

Alter said the state refused to fund $600,000 worth of computers and other improvements to the $9 million Learning Resource Center. Construction on the center is scheduled to begin this spring and the building should be ready for the fall 1999 semester.

Alter said the computers didn't meet the state's requirement for capital projects of having a 15-year lifespan.

Alter said it didn't make sense to have a state of the art center without computers, and said the college would have to find money in its operating budget over the next three years to fund the computers and other fixtures.

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