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HCC budget proposal calls for tuition hike, more funding

February 22, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

HAGERSTOWN

tiffanya@herald-mail.com

A preview of Hagerstown Community College's proposed $23.6 million budget for 2007 calls for a tuition hike and is relying on more money from the county and state.

School officials presented an early draft of HCC's fiscal year 2007 budget during the college's monthly Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday.

A final budget won't be adopted until May, after it is presented to the Washington County Commissioners, said HCC president Guy Altieri.

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If approved, Washington County students will pay about $93 per credit hour, $4 more than what they now pay.

The county would contribute $7 million, $1 million more than what it gave for fiscal year 2006.

The state would contribute $5.7 million, about $500,00 more.

Student tuition and fees will make up $10.6 million of the school's budget, accounting for nearly half of the proposed budget, said Anna Barker, HCC's vice president of administration and finance.

Ideally, student tuition would only account for a third of the school's budget, with county and state providing the other two thirds, Barker said.

Currently, student tuition and fees contribute $9.8 million to the school's $21.5 million budget, roughly 47 percent, Barker said.

According to the proposed budget for 2007, county money would account for 29 percent of the budget; state money would account for 24 percent.

Board members have long complained that HCC had not been receiving as much local aid as other community colleges in the state.

Statewide, the average contribution is 33 percent, Barker said.

"With the increases, that would bring us closer to the state average," she said.

State funding for community colleges is determined by the Senator John A. Cade Funding Formula. According to the formula, community colleges receive 25 percent of the amount per student given to the University System of Maryland.

In recent years, HCC received about 23 to 24 percent, Barker said.

HCC received $5.3 million for 2006, the full amount under the formula. Governor Robert Ehrlich promised to fully fund the formula in 2007.

Last month, the board agreed to cut its $22 million budget for 2006 to $21.5 million.

Barker said the cuts were needed because administrators had overestimated enrollment projections, which inflated the expected tuition revenue when the 2006 budget was first drafted.

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