Carroll Community College students will have to pay more tuition than last school year in an effort to balance the college's budget and maintain programs and services.
The college's in-county tuition has gone from $107 per credit hour last school year to $113 per credit hour, which went into effect for the college's first summer session and will remain in place throughout the next school year, according to college President Faye Pappalardo.
Out-of-county tuition increased from $156 per credit hour last school year to $165 per credit hour. Since Fiscal Year 2009, tuition has increased every year except Fiscal Year 2011.
Pappalardo talked with other college officials to come up with the rate increase, which was recommended to the Carroll Community College Board of Trustees and accepted June 27 along with the college's Fiscal Year 2014 budget of almost $31 million.
"The tuition increases always depend on the needs of the budget," she said.
The college heavily depends on tuition and funding from the county and state to fund the college's expenses. County and state funding have remained relatively flat despite increasing costs at the college from putting in new programs, such as the engineering program, Pappalardo said.
During the last couple years, the college hasn't hired many new employees. The college is careful not to overspend and there is no area of the college where Pappalardo feels positions could be eliminated, she said.
"There comes a time when you cannot continue ... without hiring people," she said.
The college is starting a federal loan program this fall, so the college will have to hire new staff members for that, Pappalardo said.
Carroll is one of seven community colleges in Maryland that are expected to have a tuition increase from Fiscal Year 2013 to Fiscal Year 2014, according to a tuition survey conducted by the Maryland Association of Community Colleges.
For FY14, Howard Community College's in-county tuition is the highest in the state at $129 per credit hour. Baltimore City Community College is the lowest at $88 per credit hour.
There are many reasons a college would have tuition increases, including building new facilities or the fact that enrollment has remained virtually flat, or even decreased, at many community colleges. That is a huge change from the large enrollment increases from 2008-11, according to Jody Kallis, legislative liaison from MACC.
Community colleges try to increase tuition in small amounts so tuition increases aren't a big shock to students.
"All community colleges understand that the major reason students go is affordability," she said. "We do everything possible to keep the tuitions from increasing at any substantial rate."
Pappalardo said enrollment was one of the factors that determined the tuition increase. Last fall, Carroll Community's student headcount was 4,115. The school isn't sure what the headcount will be in the fall, but it is hoping for at least equivalent numbers, but may see a slight decline.
"A lot of enrollment depends on what is the high school enrollment and high school enrollment for the last couple of years, and it continues to be this way for the next few years, has gone down," she said.
Student leaders were told of the possible tuition increase last school year and, though they were concerned, they understand why it has to be done, Pappalardo said.
"They said, 'Dr. Pappalardo, if you're going to give us the same quality of education that we've been getting, then we understand,'" she said.