College’s Budget Request Focuses on Affordability and Student Achievement

This afternoon, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced his funding recommendations for the Montgomery College fiscal year 2017 operating budget. The County Executive’s recommended budget for the College includes $2 million in new county support compared with the College’s request of $10 million.

Last month, the College submitted its operating budget with a total appropriation request of $263.7 million for fiscal year 2017, which included the $10 million request in additional county support.

Montgomery College appreciates the county executive’s support and consideration of the College’s request, but his budget recommendation does not fully support the College’s initiatives for driving student achievement, success and affordability.

“Keeping Montgomery College affordable for our students while advancing excellence in our classrooms is the primary focus of our budget request,” said Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard, president of Montgomery College. “We look forward to working closely with the Montgomery County Council to deeply invest in our students, which is also an investment in our county’s future.”

Specifically, the College requested $7.5 million to help with the total increase of $11.2 million in compensation and benefit costs for our most valuable resource—the faculty and staff who help our students succeed.

The remainder of the College’s request for new county support—$2.5 million— includes funds for a modest expansion of the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) program, the creation of an Achieving the Promise Academy, and the formation of an early learning laboratory to enhance our teacher education program. All are programs that drive student achievement.

“Access alone is no longer enough for Montgomery College students. We can’t simply meet students at the starting line—at admissions—and wait to see who shows up at the finish line called graduation,” added Dr. Pollard.

Before requesting funds from the county, the College exercised due care to meet the needs of students while minimizing impact on taxpayers.

The College’s budget assumes a 3.7 percent increase in tuition, which amounts to $4/$8/$12 per-credit-hour increase in tuition for in-county/in-state/out-of-state students. Next year, according to this budget, the average full-time in-county student will pay, including fees, $4,902. Overall, tuition and fees are expected to generate $84.1 million in revenues in fiscal year 2017, almost $3 million more than this year.

In addition to a planned tuition increase, the College met the savings target requested by the county of $2.5 million, made permanent reductions of $2.9 million, and used remaining fund balance of $1.4 million to help fund fiscal year 2017. The College also limited hiring despite the expected number of classes students will take next year. Together, these actions total $11.2 million in resources for the upcoming fiscal year.

The College made these choices to maximize the use of public resources. Even with these savings initiatives, student achievement and affordability remain the paramount concerns of the College’s Board of Trustees.

Poverty is the biggest barrier to education. Yet an education is the surest path out of poverty. This conundrum makes the community college critical to ensuring that Montgomery County will be a thriving community for all in the years to come, especially since 77 percent of our students stay local and enter the workforce right here.

The need is great. Last year, 7,000 students who qualified for a grant and did not receive one, and did not enroll at Montgomery College. That’s the total student population at Blair, Clarksburg, and Walter Johnson high schools, combined.

As a result, the College’s request calls for a deeper investment by our community in our institution, including $1.15 million for need-based grants.

“If we are to truly deliver the future we all want—a dynamic workforce, a vibrant local economy, and community filled with opportunity for all—our county must continue its profound commitment to education,” said Dr. Pollard. “An affordable, high quality, locally provided postsecondary education is vital to the Montgomery County of tomorrow.”

 

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 130 areas of study.

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