Proposed Frederick Community College budget raises tuition rates -- Gazette.Net


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Tuition rates at Frederick Community College would increase by $3 per credit hour under a proposed budget approved Wednesday by the school’s board of trustees.

Tuition and fees at the college would increase to $112 per credit hour for the 2013 fall semester as part of its fiscal 2014 operating budget.

That would be an increase from the current $109 per credit hour that is already $7 above the average tuition for in-county students at Maryland community colleges.

If approved by the Frederick County Board of Commissioners as part of the college’s final budget in June, tuitions will have risen every year since at least 2004.

The increase would go into effect for the fall 2013 semester, college spokesman Mike Pritchard said.

The board voted 6-0 to approve the proposed $47,935,036 budget, with trustee Donald C. Linton absent.

The amount represents a $203,405 increase over the fiscal 2013 budget, according to a memorandum prepared by the college.

The vote was the first step in a long process leading up to final approval of the spending plan, college President Doug Browning said.

It will now be submitted to the commissioners so they can incorporate it into the county budget process, he said.

The fiscal 2014 budget projects $14,254,812 in funding from the county, $10,307,250 from the state and $18,829,411 generated through tuition and fee, the budget documents said.

The current county commissioners have worked well with FCC, after the previous board cut funding to the school by $1 million in fiscal 2011, Browning said.

The current commissioners gave the college a $500,000 increase in funding last year, but indicated that would be a one-time payment, he said.

Nevertheless, he said the college has asked the county for an extra $250,000 this year and plans to ask for another $250,000 next year to make up the $1 million.

The college’s expenditures are projected to be $48,085,039, the budget documents said.

If the college gets the $250,000 from the county, it’s committed to spending reductions and has already told vice presidents in its administration to find areas that can be reduced, reallocated or eliminated, Browning said.

He told the board they should be able to start having discussions on cuts within two months.

But the college is also looking to add more full-time positions to help lower the number of adjunct or part-time positions, which currently make up 65 percent of the faculty, he said.

Those positions aren’t included in the proposed budget, Pritchard said.

The board has recognized several times that it doesn’t have enough full-time faculty members, trustee Marvin Ausherman said.

He said the college currently has requests for eight faculty and four faculty-support positions.

“I really want to make sure we get those full-time positions in here,” Ausherman said.

Trustee Debra Borden agreed the college needs to make hiring more full-time faculty a priority because accreditation scores suffer when it doesn’t have enough full-time staff.

“Adjuncts are great,” she said. “But they’re not supposed to be in that proportion to our full-time faculty.”

rmarshall@gazette.net