The Carroll Community College Board of Trustees approved its $31.1 million fiscal year 2015 operating budget request Wednesday sending the proposed budget onto the Board of County Commissioners for final approval.
Included in the budget request is a $5-per-credit hour increase for in-county students, raising tuition to $118 per credit hour.
Tuition at Carroll has risen each year since the 2010-11 school year and college officials expect that trend to continue in future years.
The college is currently projecting a tuition increase for each of the next five years unless government funding or enrollment increases, according to Executive Vice President of Administration Alan Schuman.
Tuition revenue is the largest funding provider for the college, representing about 43 percent of the budget.
Enrollment this year is expected to be seven percent lower than last year and the college is projecting another one percent decrease next year.
College President Faye Pappalardo said "there is no fat in this college" to trim for budget savings.
She added that students tell her they are amazed that the increase is only $5 because of all the college offers its students.
Under the proposed budget, Carroll students would pay $118 per credit hour beginning next fall, a four percent increase from the current $113 per credit hour rate. A full-time student taking about 14 credits could expect to pay $83 more per semester, while a part-time student taking about six credits could expect to pay $39 more per semester.
Schuman has said the college will request the tuition increase because of expected lower enrollment, increased employee health care costs, increased funding for the nursing program, and the creation of two new positions.
In addition to an expected 10 percent increase in health care costs, the college is now required to pay more for its nursing program as grant funding for the program has ended.
Carroll is also proposing the creation of two new positions, including a full-time sociology instructor and a full-time counselor.
The college is requesting the sociology position since 85 percent of its current sociology courses are taught by adjunct faculty. The counselor position has been requested due to a state law that requires schools create a customized academic plan for students so that they graduate in a reasonable time frame.
The college is projecting a three percent increase in both county and state funding for fiscal 2015.
The proposed $31.1 million budget represents a $300,000 increase from the fiscal year 2014 budget.
No salary increase for staff is included in the budget.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun