I was very pleased to read your May 24 editorial praising the good work at Howard Community College, and saying that an adequate funding strategy must be in place to keep to its mission of open access and affordability.
As a trustee for 12 years from 1995-2007, I was honored to work with three county executives, Chuck Ecker, Jim Robey and Ken Ulman, who made HCC a top priority in their annual budget, and a county council who recognized the need for a strong and vibrant community college. Plus our state delegation has always fought hard to fund Howard Community College. We live in a community that values education.
But the funding issue is not just a Howard County issue, it is a state of Maryland issue and beyond. Well over half of Maryland college students attend a community college, yet the community colleges receive less than 25 percent of the funding that the University of Maryland system receives. Every year I was a trustee the percentage of HCC's budget from the state declined. Please note federal elected officials love to talk about how important community colleges are, but their funding is very little of the overall budget of community colleges.
I think to have a serious discussion about a sustainable future for Howard Community College we need to have everyone at the table, not just our county officials. If not, tuition will continue to be raised and the students who can ill afford it will be footing the bill.
Howard Community College Trustee, 1995-2007
HCC Senior Adjunct Instructor in American History, 2009 to present