Tuition, room and board at Western Maryland College will increase bynearly 8 percent next academic year, to $17,245, officials said thisweek.

Under the plan approved by WMC's Board of Trustees, tuitionwill rise by 7.8 percent to $12,505.

Undergraduate students now pay $11,590 for tuition, $2,000 for rooms and $2,390 for board, or $15,980 total.

The "moderate" tuitionincrease is the lowest in eight years and the second-lowest in a decade, officials said.

WMC officials said the increase is needed to balance an operating budget that will rise by 5 percent to $27.5 million next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Student tuition, book store sales and state dollars comprise about 90 percent of the budget's revenue.

Like other Maryland colleges and universities, WMC expectsto receive fewer state dollars next fiscal year. The exact amount depends on the state legislature.

The state's poor economic climate was a factor in determing the tuition rate, officials said. Reductions in state aid to private and public colleges to lessen Maryland's budget deficit, have prompted WMC officials to enact cost-control measures.

For example, the faculty has agreed to teach one extra coursenext year, ensuring that class sizes will remain stable and requiredcourses are available to all students.

In addition, college officials are being very "judicious" in hiring staff and reviewing positions as they turn over, said Ethan Seidel, WMC professor of economics and business and a member of the college's budget committee.

"We'retrying to get by with the most efficient staff we can," he said.

WMC officials said the tuition boost is in line with rates recently announced by other private institutions across the country. Other four-year private colleges and universities are increasing tuition by 4 percent to 7 percent, which is in line with the nation's 6.1 percent inflation rate.

"Because of our commitment to making Western Maryland accessible to all qualified students, we have increased our financial aid budget by more than 13 percent for the 1991-1992 academic year," Seidel said.

Officials have budgeted $4.3 million for studentfinancial aid next year.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad