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HCC seeks more money for programs, to offset building projects

March 20, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Community College is requesting a 1.5 percent increase in funding from Washington County next fiscal year due to rising enrollment and new programs, according to HCC officials.

HCC is requesting $9,180,685 from the county for fiscal year 2012, which begins July 1, said Anna Barker, HCC’s vice president for administration and finance.

That’s up $135,675 from the county’s contribution this year of $9,045,010.

HCC also is requesting $1.51 million in capital funds from the county next fiscal year to go toward its Arts and Sciences Complex, Performing and Visual Arts Center, and Student Center expansion projects.

The Arts and Sciences Complex includes the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math building under construction now, and renovation of its classroom and science buildings, which is expected to begin in December.

Washington County funds about 28 percent of HCC’s annual operating budget. The rest of its revenue comes primarily from student tuition and fees, and from state funding.

HCC’s total operating budget for next fiscal year is about $33 million, up about 2.5 percent from this year’s budget of about $32.3 million.

Presenting the funding increase request to the Washington County Commissioners during a lunch meeting Tuesday, Barker and HCC President Guy Altieri cited an increasing emphasis on more expensive programs, such as biotechnology, as one reason for the college’s rising costs.

“When you’re talking medical imaging, biotech, engineering, it’s very, very hard to make these programs inexpensive, and students pursue these programs,” Altieri said. “They know there’s valuable job opportunities there.”

Growing enrollment also is causing costs to rise, Barker said. Credit enrollment is anticipated to increase 4 percent next year, she said.

The budget projections assume a tuition increase, but the amount of the increase will not be known until county and state contributions are finalized, Barker said.

The proposed tuition increases are set to go before HCC’s board of trustees next month, she said.

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