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USM-Hagerstown students taking more classes

August 20, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

HAGERSTOWN -- Enrollment is not growing as fast as expected, but students at the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown are taking more classes than ever, the school's executive director said Tuesday during a meeting with the Washington County Commissioners.

C. David Warner III said the number of full-time equivalent USM-H students, a measure of full course loads, has risen rapidly over the last year.

While enrollment over the last three fiscal years has increased 13 percent, full-time equivalents have increased 30 percent over the same period, Warner said.

"The students in the building are taking a lot of classes," Warner said.

The meeting with the County Commissioners comes nearly two months after the University System of Maryland cut five of 18 staff jobs at the Hagerstown campus.

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The cuts were a result of lower-than-expected enrollment.

After Tuesday's meeting, Warner said he does not expect further job cuts, which he and University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. Kirwan have referred to as "rightsizing."

Warner also said he has been assured by state legislators that the campus' funding will not be in jeopardy during next year's Maryland General Assembly session.

During this year's session, a Southern Maryland delegate tried to redirect some of USM-H's funding to other colleges in the state, including one in his district.

The Hagerstown campus' operating budget has grown from $1 million in 2005 to just more than $2 million in 2008.

Warner said Tuesday that the center plans to offer new doctoral and bachelor degree programs in 2009.

In summer 2009, the center plans to begin offering a doctorate in education, with a focus on leadership and policy studies, in conjunction with the University of Maryland College Park and Frostburg State University.

In fall 2009, the campus plans to offer a bachelor's of science degree in elementary education, with a specialty in math and science, in conjunction with Frostburg State University.

Both programs are awaiting approval from the Maryland Higher Education Commission, Warner said.

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