The arrangement wherein Towson University will be allowed to construct a $25 million satellite campus of sorts at Harford Community College accomplishes two worthy goals while keeping in check, at least to some degree, the trend of colleges and universities expanding for the sake of expansion.
Strangely, there has been something of a trend among what were once called junior colleges, now community colleges, but generally speaking two-year colleges, to make the jump to four-year colleges. That's why what used to be Cecil Community College is now Cecil College and Villa Julie College is now Stevenson University. Is there a need? Hard to say. People will always need places where they can go to learn and institutions of higher learning, and relatively easy access to them, constitutes a cornerstone of what makes this country great.
But not every junior college needs to grow into a four-year institution and then into a university. Two-year schools are part of what makes the American higher education system egalitarian and great: they provide a reasonably priced, solid foundation for adult learning. This generally has been the goal of Harford Community College, and really should be the goal of a community college for just about every community. This is what they do, and the value of the service should not be tossed out in favor of growing needlessly.
After all, there are plenty of other larger schools out there and many are looking for places to offer degree programs away from their home campuses. In this latest round, Towson won out over the objections of another fine state school, Morgan State University. Both schools are relatively nearby and seeking to attract students from Harford County. Considering this, there's no reason to re-invent the wheel.
This deal allows HCC to continue focusing on offering the fundamentals of a higher education, while Towson (or possibly Morgan or another school) will offer a sampling of four-year programs locally.