While supplemental money from the governor has helped K-12 schools in Maryland that are struggling with enrollment, it appears Carroll Community College won't see additional state dollars this year as its student population continues to dip.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's supplemental budget, which included an additional $28.2 million in funding for 11 public school systems in the state, including $1.6 million for Carroll County Public Schools, was passed by the Democrat-controlled General Assembly on Monday, but not before extra money for small community colleges was stripped from the bill.
Hogan's first supplemental budget included $1.4 million in funding for small community colleges and scholarships, Hannah Marr, a spokeswoman for the governor's office, said via email. About $376,000 would have gone to Carroll, Marr said.
"We were disappointed to see those funds removed during the conference committee," Marr said. "The governor is committed to funding community colleges to provide opportunities for more Marylanders to receive post-secondary education, and he will continue to fund these efforts."
Carroll Community College's budget has a gap of about $366,000, according to President James Ball.
"Whatever we do at this point, we would be looking to fill the gap," he said.
The hope, he said, was that this state money would offset that gap, and that current legislation could permanently fix the gap in years to come. Ball did not have updates on any of the bills that could help with funding for small community colleges in the future.
Seven small community colleges in Maryland receive more state money outside of the funding formula. They are Allegany College of Maryland, Garrett College, Hagerstown Community College, Carroll Community College, Cecil Community College, Chesapeake College and Wor–Wic Community College.
But years ago, under the Cade formula grant, the Maryland General Assembly approved extra funding for Garrett, Hagerstown and Allegany, three small schools in western Maryland.
Senate Bill 521 would increase the amount of unrestricted grant funding from the state provided to small community colleges, and redistribute the money those three colleges were getting.
Ball said, at this point, Carroll is waiting to see how much money comes from the county government once the budget is completed in May. He didn't detail how the college would balance the budget, but did say they would not raise tuition.
Carroll Community College's board of trustees approved a budget in January that included a $6 per credit hour, or 4.5 percent, tuition increase. But in February, the board voted to reduce the tuition increase for the 2018 fiscal year from $6 to $2 per credit hour to be in line with the governor's vision for accessible, affordable college tuition.
Tuition at Carroll for the 2017-18 school year will be $134 per credit.
"We're very concerned about trying to keep our tuition at a reasonable level," Ball said.