CCC asks for independence today


WESTMINSTER -- Time is money -- lots of money -- for Carroll Community College these days, so Executive Dean Joseph F. Shields was not shy with the county commissioners yesterday.

After they agreed to his request to write a letter to the state asking for independence for the school, Dr. Shields asked if he could wait around outside while they had it typed and signed.

"When it's ready, I'd even be willing to hand-carry it down there," Dr. Shields said. He is scheduled to do so today.

The school has been a branch of Catonsville Community College, but now qualifies as a middle-size community college, bigger than five other independent schools in the state.

Regarding money, independence from Catonsville could mean up to $650,000 more a year in state funding. The money could come as early as July 1993, as long as the college can meet a series of deadlines between now and then, Dr. Shields said.

He met with commissioners Elmer C. Lippy and Julia W. Gouge yesterday to discuss the move, which was suggested by Secretary of Higher Education Shaila Aery during a visit to the campus a few weeks ago.

The commissioners encouraged the move. Commission President Donald I. Dell supported independence at the college advisory board meeting he attended last week.

"Dr. Aery has written us and urged us to move as quickly as possible," Dr. Shields said.

Since 1983, the campus has offered all classes a student would need to earn a two-year associate's degree.

Last Wednesday, the college's advisory board voted unanimously to pursue independence this year, instead of after 1995 as originally planned.

"It was a historic moment," Dr. Shields said. "I don't think there's been a community college started in the state in the last 20 years or so."

And no community colleges started as has Carroll, as a branch of a larger school. Carroll will serve as a model as it goes through the independence process, Dr. Shields said.

Moving faster will mean getting the money faster, he said. As part of a larger school, Carroll qualifies for a lower per-student funding formula.

Increasing enrollment has meant increasing costs, so the additional money is sorely needed, Dr. Shields said.

The new money also would cover the increased start-up and catch-up costs of becoming independent, he said.

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