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HCC in-county tuition rates stable

January 27, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

For the second year in a row, Hagerstown Community College will not raise tuition for Washington County residents.

Tuition will go up for all students from outside the county, however.

Maryland law requires community colleges to charge out-of county students twice the local rate, according to Hagerstown Community College President Norman Shea. Tuition is tripled for out-of-state residents.

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"We would like to change that," Shea said.

He said he believes the mandate is unfair to Western Maryland, where colleges have more out-of-state students, many from nearby Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Hagerstown Community College is the "most inexpensive college or university in the I-81 corridor," Shea said.

Hiking rates might make it less competitive, he said.

"We're going to be very expensive," Shea said. "We're going to become too costly for Pennsylvania and West Virginia students."

Currently, tuition is $70 per credit hour for county residents, $109 for out-of-county students who live in Maryland and $147 for out-of-state students.

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For an average course load of 15 credit hours, those rates translate to tuitions of $1,050 for county students, $1,635 for Maryland students who live outside the county, and $2,205 for out-of-state students.

The college is changing its rates on a five-year schedule. It is now in its third year, and will comply with the state mandate by 2001, Shea said.

HCC expects to receive an additional $401,829 in state aid this year, enabling it to avoid tuition hikes for local students. Last year marked the first time in more than a decade that the college did not raise that rate, according to Shea.

The Hagerstown Community College Board of Trustees met with the County Commissioners on Tuesday in preparation for the college's submission of a budget request. The college is asking for 2 percent more than the $4.16 million it received last year.

"That's the lowest increase in the five years I've been involved," said Board President Wayne Alter Jr. He described various capital improvements on campus and said, "the state of the college is very good."

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