Supporting Your College
Over the past decade, Howard Community College has been the fastest growing community college in the state of Maryland, increasing the number of full-time equivalent students served by 51 percent. The result has been more students and the need for more support and services, which is the message that Dr. Kate Hetherington, president, delivered to Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman at the recent budget hearing held March 14.
“With our budget request for fiscal year 2017, we ask for you to invest the funding necessary to educate the future workforce of this county and ensure our college and students have the facilities essential to the careers of the future,” said Dr. Hetherington. “For every dollar you invest in the college, taxpayers see an 11.3 percent annual rate of return.”
The college’s operating budget request is tied to its strategic initiatives and the opening of the future science, engineering, and technology building set to open in 2017. With funding for nearly 13 new positions, the college would be able to boost its full-time faculty numbers in high-demand academic areas, add much-needed staffing to equip and maintain the new building, and hire a dentist required for the dental hygiene program. The request also includes modest salary improvements for faculty, staff, and adjunct faculty.
While Howard Community College offers the best value for higher education in the county, the college recognizes that students are concerned about the cost of college. Therefore, the budget proposal requests the funding necessary to keep tuition level for the next fiscal year.
“I am grateful to HCC for cultivating great expectations for my life. It has changed me,” said Beth Evans, a student who gave testimony before the county executive. “And tonight, I can proudly say that no matter how my story ends, I do expect it will be better than where it started.”
In addition to the operating budget, the college also shared its capital budget request for fiscal year 2017. The college is asking for $10.3 million in county funding to complete construction of the science, engineering, and technology building. The state has already pre-authorized its share of the costs. In addition, the college is asking for $4.2 million for much-needed systematic renovation funding for deferred maintenance and the replacement of aging mechanical systems.
“We need your investment in our facilities to ensure we can continue to provide the best and most affordable higher education option for Howard County residents and their families,” said Edmund Coale, III, chair of the Howard Community College Board of Trustees, during his testimony.
The Howard County Executive will present his fiscal year 2017 operating budget to the Howard County Council on April 18, 2016. The Howard County Council will hold its budget hearing in April and May. The Howard County Council will vote on the operating budget by late May.