Enrollment figures this fall seemed weak to at least one Carroll Community College trustee who has witnessed the school's rapid growth in the past.
At last night's board meeting, Trustee Michael Mason asked whether the slowed growth is a concern.
"We actually expected a decrease this year," said Faye Pappalardo, vice president of the college. "There could be one next year."
Dr. Pappalardo said most other community colleges across the state reported decreases of 7 percent to 10 percent in enrollment.
Carroll's student body declined by 2.2 percent, to 2,635 students. But enrollment of full-time students rose 11.2 percent, and enrollment of part-time students fell 7.4 percent.
The college saw a 2.2 percent increase in full-time equivalent students -- the total number of credit hours taken by all students combined.
Dr. Pappalardo said the increase in full-time students is significant and shows growth. Also, many former part-time students are now attending full time.
President Joseph Shields said the decrease in part-time students could be due to a recovering economy: fewer working people need to return to school for job training.
In other business, Catonsville Community College President Frederick Walsh told the trustees he hoped to continue the affiliation of the two colleges, even though Carroll became independent this past summer. "It's a symbiotic relationship," he said. "We get money from you and you save money as part of the operation."
Through a contract, Carroll pays Catonsville to continue many business services, such as payroll and data processing.
Also, Dr. Walsh said, Carroll students can take any of Catonsville's courses and eventually will have access to courses at all Baltimore County community colleges and the University of Maryland through "compressed video." This technology will allow the colleges to pipe in each other's courses on video.
Also last night, the trustees honored Donald and Marie Smith of Westminster as "friends of the college" for donating money toward two scholarships.
Interest from the donation will go toward scholarships in teaching and in engineering and computer science, said Rosemary Straub, director of development.
"The college is honoring the donors' request by not releasing the amount of the donation," she said.