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HCC fees hold steady, other rise

July 24, 2000

HCC fees hold steady, other rise



By JOSH POLTILOVE / Staff Writer


Of 14 colleges polled in four states, Hagerstown Community College is the only school not raising tuition for the coming academic year.

Instead, HCC's tuition for students from out of the county and from out of state has dropped. HCC's tuition for students who live in Washington County will remain the same for the fourth straight year.

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HCC will maintain its in-county rates at $70 a credit hour, about $2,100 for two semesters for students taking 15-credit course loads. Maryland residents who live outside Washington County will pay $114 a credit hour compared to $121 last year, while out-of-state students will pay $143 instead of $169.

HCC Director of Marketing and Public Information Patti Friend said that after Gov. Parris Glendening signed a bill allowing community colleges in counties bordering other states to lower fees at their discretion, the school's board of trustees voted unanimously April 11 to do so.

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She said almost one-third of HCC students are either from out of state or out of county, and that part of the reasoning behind the board's decision was to increase enrollment.

"The whole idea of a community college is to provide quality education at affordable price," Friend said.

Frederick Community College, meanwhile, raised its fees from $70 to $72 a credit hour per semester. Out-of-county students will have a $4 increase.

Extra fees, which consist of such things as technology and one-time course registration fees, are about $180 at HCC and $247.50 at FCC each year, based on 15-credit-hour semesters.

While FCC barely increased tuition and HCC did not, most other colleges and universities in the area are raising their total tuition by about 4 percent.

At the University of Maryland, College Park, tuition will increase by $197 for in-state students for the 2000-2001 academic year, meaning those students now will pay $5,136 a year. Mount St. Mary's tuition will rise $880 and private Hood College will have a tuition increase of $1,020.

Hagerstown Business College student tuition increases totaled about $25 a credit hour in the last three years. This fall, the privately owned college raised its tuition $5 per credit hour, or about $150 a year for a full 30-credit course load.

Carol Jackson, who moved from Winchester, Va., to Hagerstown to be closer to the business college, will enter her third semester this fall. She said the increased cost didn't bother her much because the smaller classes and more personal attention from professors makes the tuition worth paying.

"It's my money and I want the best," Jackson said. "If I have to pay more, it's worth it."

Since the spring of 1996, HCC's in-county tuition has increased $6 a credit hour. Its out-of county tuition rose $12 and out-of-state rose $4 in that time.

"This school is thousands of dollars cheaper than other schools in the state," said HCC student Willy Gilfus, who lives in Washington County and eventually wants to be a state police officer.

Gilfus will pay $2,580 a year less than if he attended FCC and $3,036 less than if he commuted to College Park.

"I feel like in my classes, I've gotten the same education I would have gotten in a lot of more expensive schools."

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