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The Aegis
Harford County

Trustees hike Harford Community College operating budget by $4.3 million while freezing tuition

The Harford Community College Board of Trustees has approved a $56 million general operating budget for the coming fiscal year, a $4.3 million increase above the current operating budget.

With this budget increase, tuition should remain the same, according to the budget presentation June 14 by Trevor Jackson, vice president of finance and administration at the college.

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“Given the unpredictable fluctuations in the economic market, we know that finances are a primary concern for many of our students,” said Harford Community College President Theresa Felder. “By freezing tuition rates, students will not realize the additional burden of increased academic costs.”

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During the pandemic, Harford Community College experienced a 6% decrease in enrollment. The economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent recovery, have caused many students to either delay or change their plans which has led to declining enrollment at community colleges nationwide, school officials said.

Maintaining tuition rates during an economic crisis is a huge step toward retaining and bringing in students, Felder said.

“With the rising rates of inflation, our students are likely coping with additional financial burdens in many aspects of their lives,” Felder said. “We are pleased to support our students by eliminating the worry of higher tuition rates for the upcoming school year.”

Harford Community College has gotten a funding increase from the county by 10% or $1.8 million, according to the budget presentation. Also, the school’s workforce and community education revenue has increased by $1,086,300.

“With the increased support from the state and county, the college is able to have a balanced budget while keeping tuition rates and fees flat for our students,” Jackson said. “This budget also enables the college to continue building on its rich academic programs and enhance the services that directly benefit our students.”

Here’s the breakdown of HCC’s budget increase:

  • State funding increase: 21% or $2,950,000;
  • Harford County support increase: 10% or $1,800,000;
  • Workforce and Community Education Revenue expected increase: $1,086,300.
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The budget supports workforce and community education, increased utility costs, salary and benefit increases, and IT infrastructure and security upgrades, Felder said. It also accounts for a 6% salary hike for school employees.

“The budget increase will allow the college to support and enhance its academic programs, students services and employee resources,” said Felder, who thanked the county and state for fully funding the budget requests.

State funding of Maryland’s community colleges is based on the Cade funding formula, established as law in 1996 to provide community colleges with predictable support for operations and to provide students with affordable tuition, according to the Maryland Association of Community Colleges.

The intent of the Cade formula is to divide community college funding responsibilities into equal thirds between the state, local government and student tuition/fees. In previous years, it hadn’t been fully funded, but for fiscal 2023 it will be, said Nancy Dysard, HCC director for communications.

In addition to the other investments, Harford Community College will be investing in many projects focused on student success. Here are the student success projects HCC plans to invest in:

  • Workforce-$265,100
    • Leading Edge Training Center - $119,500
    • Cyber Contract Training Instruction - $89,600
    • Earlbeck Welding Partnership - $16,000
    • Workforce Instructional - $40,000
  • Systems-$224,700
    • CRM System (Student Life Cycle) - $46,500
    • Honorlock (online proctoring) - $66,800
    • Website - $34,000
    • Firewall & VPN Licenses - $77,400
  • Personnel-$2,768,500
    • Personnel Investment – 6% salary increase or $1,860,000
    • Compensation Study adjustments-$500,000
    • HealthCare – 8% increase or $391,000
    • Diversity / Leadership Training - $17,500
  • Facilities / Wellness- $337,300
    • Onsite Counseling - $56,500
    • Surveillance Camera replacements upgrades - $40,000
    • Additional athletic trainers & travel - $95,800
    • Utilities increase - $145,000
  • Student Pathways- $95,300
    • Marketing Campaigns for student pathways - $25,000
    • Curriculum design and delivery - $23,000
    • Registration System Workforce & Community Ed - $47,300

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