Still a bargain; Anne Arundel: Community college can afford a tuition increase after holding steady for five years.


AS MUCH as the board of trustees at Anne Arundel Community College may want to hold tuition at its current level, an increase is overdue. Tuition has remained stable for five years -- quite an achievement considering that other Maryland community colleges have been forced to raise tuition as much as 42 percent.

The former county executive, John G. Gary, made AACC a budget priority. He correctly envisioned a vigorous community college as essential to economic development. He wanted to keep tuition as low as possible to make higher education available to as many as possible.

The county's tight budget situation is forcing County Executive Janet S. Owens to wonder if the community college can keep tuition at its relatively modest level. Money that might be spent holding tuition in place could be diverted to finance improvements in elementary and secondary education, which might pay bigger dividends by reaching young people earlier in their schooling. Even if AACC's tuition rose 10 percent, it would be less than in Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties, and below the state average of $72 per credit hour.

Given that Ms. Owens and County Council members have expressed support for a tuition increase, the trustees may have little choice. Their more difficult question is whether this would be the last increase for another several years or the first in a series.

College Credit hr.

Anne Arundel $63

Baltimore City $66

Baltimore County $66

Carroll County $71

Harford County $66

Howard County $87

Mont. County $80

Prince George's $87

SOURCE: Anne Arundel Comm. College

Pub Date: 1/29/99

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