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HCC board cuts budget

January 18, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

HAGERSTOWN

tiffanya@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Community College's Board of Trustees agreed Tuesday to cut the school's operating budget by $325,178.

Anna Barker, HCC's vice president of administration and finance, recommended the 1.5 percent cut in the school's $21.9 million operating budget at the board's regular monthly meeting.

"That sounds like it might be a lot of money, but when you look at the actual percentage, it wouldn't make a big impact," Barker said in a telephone interview.

Barker said after the cuts, the new budget would be around $21.6 million. Student tuition and fees will account for 47 percent of the school's revenue this year, Barker said.

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At the meeting, Barker said the cuts were needed because administrators had overestimated enrollment projections, which inflated the expected tuition revenue when the budget first was drafted.

This fall, 3,590 students enrolled at HCC, 31.7 percent more than in 2002, according to the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

But Barker said HCC's enrollment has started to level off, and that this year's actual enrollment was lower than what the school had accounted for in the budget.

To brace for the cut, HCC will reduce health-care costs, postpone upgrades to its computer network and redirect money from other programs. Staff benefits, teaching positions and other HCC programs will not be affected, Barker said.

This time of year, HCC officials review how much has been spent and how much it has gained in revenue. That data then is compared with their budget projections, HCC President Guy Altieri said at the board meeting.

State officials consider HCC to be the fastest growing community college in the state.

HCC's tuition, $89 per credit hour, has increased 11 percent over the past 3 years. Enrollments statewide only have increased 8.7 percent, according to the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

HCC expects to receive additional funding from the state next year.

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