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Board votes to raise tuition, approves $117 million budget for FY 2019

Photo by Roxanne Ready

Photo by Roxanne Ready

Roxanne Ready, Editor-in-Chief

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AACC’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday voted to raise tuition by $2 per credit hour.

The increase is part of an operating budget of $117 million, which the Board of Trustees—a panel of seven community members and one AACC student—voted unanimously to approve  for fiscal year 2019.

Tuition

The $2-per-credit-hour tuition increase will take effect in fall 2019.

The new rate is 1.8 percent higher than last year’s tuition, according to Melissa Beardmore, AACC’s vice president of learning resources management.

“It was a tough budget,” AACC President Dawn Lindsay, who sits on the board as a non-voting member, said. “We supported the governor’s request to keep [our] tuition [increase] at 2 percent or less, [but] doing that actually cost us in revenue.”

AACC will receive an “affordability incentive” of around $235,000 from the state for keeping its tuition increase below 2 percent—half of last year’s $470,000 incentive.

But a tuition raise of $3 instead of $2 would have earned the college around $300,000, said Lindsay.

“In consideration of our students, quite frankly, and being as student-focused as this college and this board is, they made the directive that they wanted to keep it at 2 percent or less,” Lindsay said.

Student tuition accounts for 36 percent of the school’s revenue in the new budget, down from 37 percent last year.

County

AACC’s budget also includes a request to Anne Arundel County for almost $45.8 million, accounting for 39 percent of the college’s revenue, up from 37 percent last year and the highest percentage ever requested.

Lindsay said this proposed increase, if the county approves it, will enable the college to keep the tuition raise at $2 and to make up for low levels of state funding.

State

If the Legislature approves Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposed FY 2019 budget for the state, it will grant AACC about $29 million.

The Legislature promised in 1996 to fund community colleges by 2012 at 29 percent of the Maryland higher education budget. That legislation is called the Cade Funding Formula. But because of adjustments made to the law in 2012, this year it will only give community colleges 22 percent of that budget.

At the levels originally promised, state funding would account for closer to one-third of AACC’s budget.

AACC would have earned “roughly $10-12 million” if the state had kept the original deadline of 2012 to reach the percentage, Beardmore said.

Photo by Roxanne Ready
Attendees applaud during the February Board of Trustees meeting. Board members approved a tuition raise of $2 per credit hour in the $117 million budget for FY 2019.

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Board votes to raise tuition, approves $117 million budget for FY 2019