- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A tuition increase for the College of Southern Maryland has students responsible for a majority of the college’s budget.
Tuition is set to increase by $4 per credit for students who live in Southern Maryland, $7 for out-of-region students and $9 for students out of state.
The hike represents a 3.7 percent increase, CSM President Brad Gottfried said.
Gottfried said that while there were state and county increases in funding this year, rising costs for such things as utilities and health costs were factors in increasing the student contribution to the college’s $59 million budget.
With the tuition increase, a student can expect to pay, with student fees, $136.53 per credit.
Altogether, with a student taking an average of nine credits, Gottfried said the increase on the student will be about $36 a semester.
“It’s still $36, but it’s not like $136 or $536,” he said.
According to a news release from the college, included in the college’s budget are funds to support new facilities needed because of growth in enrollments. The budget also supports conversions of existing positions within nursing that have been funded previously by grants as well as for additional positions that will support veterans and academic advising, meet state motor vehicle regulatory reporting requirements, offer additional public safety personnel, support technology requirements in classrooms and offices, and care for the mechanical systems of the college’s facilities.
The college’s board of trustees also authorized up to a 2 percent market adjustment of salary scales for all fully benefited faculty and staff members.
Of the total budget, the state contributed $10.9 million, representing a 3 percent increase.
State funding is based on student enrollment.
Gottfried said the college looks at its programs and budget to trim costs as much as possible, for example, by cutting unnecessary positions or programs or maybe putting a new initiative on hold.
After trimming costs, the staff determines how much if any at all tuition will need to increase, taking into consideration estimated enrollment figures.
Last fall CSM had 9,166 students, an increase of 3 percent from the year before.
Gottfried said ideally the budget should break down so that one-third is funded by the local counties, a third from the state and a third from students.
As it is, Gottfried said students are carrying 52 percent of the total budget.
“The trend is going in the wrong direction. If we allow it to continue it’s going to have an impact on our region,” he said.
The total budget reflects $9.1 million coming from Charles County commissioners for the La Plata campus, which has a $35 million budget. Gottfried said budgeted funding stayed the same as last year, but the school is hoping to receive more later in the fiscal year.
County Commissioner Debra M. Davis (D) had sought to increase the county’s budget further by including a $310,000 budget increase requested by CSM, to be used to help operate a recently expanded business building at the La Plata campus and to inaugurate institutes devoted to supporting nonprofits and increasing diversity.
But Tuesday, she asked that the request be considered later, and commissioners unanimously agreed.
CSM is looking at $3.9 million of the $11.6 million budget for the Prince Frederick campus funded by the Calvert County commissioners. The 6 percent increase, Gottfried explained, will go toward funding a new building on the Calvert campus.
Construction for the building is set to be completed next year.
Of the $12.3 million budget for the Leonardtown campus, the CSM budget shows the St. Mary’s County commissioners funding $3.6 million.
This represents a 1 percent increase over last year.
Gottfried said he plans to go over the budget with staff this year, dissecting it and “pulling it apart to see if we can ask for less. ... Wouldn’t it be nice if we could give students a break?”
Gottfried said he will make sure the college does its part to take a good look and see where it can free up funds.
“Maybe there are some things we don’t need to be doing. We owe it to students,” Gottfried said.
Staff writer Erica Mitrano contributed to this report.