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Montgomery County Executive Announces Budget Recommendation for Montgomery College Montgomery College Requested an Increase of $15 Million, But the County Executive Recommends $3 Million

This afternoon, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced his funding recommendations for the Montgomery College fiscal year 2016 operating budget. Mr. Leggett’s recommended budget for the College includes $3 million in new county support out of our requested $15 million. Last month, the College submitted its operating budget totaling $253.8 million for fiscal year 2016, which included the $15 million request in additional support.

While we appreciate the county executive’s support of the College and consideration of our request, his budget recommendation falls short of what we had hoped. The primary focus of our request is for increased funding—$11.8 million—designated for employee compensation and benefits. The budget request represents an investment in our most valuable resource: the dedicated faculty and staff who empower our students to change their lives.

The County Executive’s budget recommendation includes a doubling of the College’s planned tuition rate increase for FY 16. To fund planned compensation for faculty and staff, the College would need to institute a tuition increase that is nearly 400 percent greater than planned for FY16, which translates to close to a $400 increase in annual tuition for a full-time student, taking tuition to more than $5,000 for the first time.

The Montgomery College Board of Trustees remains very concerned with the growing cost of postsecondary education. The latest data indicate that 29 percent of our students receive federal financial aid in the form of Pell Grants, up from 25 percent in 2012. Most of the College’s Pell grant recipients have an average household income of only $27,000. Financial aid applications have increased by 70 percent since 2009.

A key priority for the College’s budget request is its commitment to closing the achievement gap. That initiative includes establishing a part-time faculty support center; enhancing academic department advising; expanding the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) program; and staffing for Community Engagement Centers.

“In the weeks ahead, the Board of Trustees and I will continue to meet with Montgomery County Council members to seek approval of our budget request as submitted,” said Montgomery College President DeRionne P. Pollard. “I will make clear that our faculty play a vital role in providing our students with a high quality education that is also affordable. Montgomery College plays a critical role in the economic progress of our community by fostering opportunity and success for thousands of students. We will work to ensure the College receives the support our students need to help ensure their success and keep Montgomery County moving forward.

“The county’s economic future requires strong investments in a ‘Kindergarten to Job’ education system with Montgomery College as the lynchpin. Whether our high school graduates or adult learners want to be engineers or mechanics, nurses or lab technicians, teachers or cybersecurity analysts, they must have a postsecondary education. According to the National Science Foundation, half of America’s scientists and engineers started at a community college. Through continued investment from the county, Montgomery College will provide greater access to the ladder of opportunity for Montgomery County residents.”

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