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Mount President Plans Tuition Hike

Eric Slagle
Frederick News Post

(11/18/2203) Students at Mount St. Mary's College could face a 3 percent hike in tuition, fees, room and board next year if the college president's a draft budget is approved by trustees in December.

Mount president Tom Powell announced the proposed increase

during a general assembly meeting at the college and seminary Tuesday.

Dr. Powell said the institution must also increase enrollment by 60 students in order to raise an additional $3,465,000 over the current operating budget of about $47 million.

Rising insurance costs totaling $230,000 and a 2 percent across the board salary increase for employees will add $1.2 million to the budget, according to Dr. Powell.

The college needs an additional $345,000 to cover costs associated with student life. Dr. Powell said the college plans to hire a vice-president of student life and to increase funding for student activities. He said the college would offer its resident assistants more career training and opportunities.

About $340 million of the increase would go into facilities and services, helping pay for a renovation of Purcell Hall and equipping all campus residence rooms with refrigerators and microwaves. Dr. Powell also said the college intended to do away with its coin-operated laundry machines and offer the service to students for free.

The college also plans to add four new faculty members to its payrolls at a cost of $220,000, Dr. Powell said.

Other factors driving up tuition include new financial aid costs, improvements to athletic facilities and preparation for the college's bicentennial celebration. Dr. Powell said the college expects to be receiving about $700,000 less in state selling funds than it did last year.

For the student, tuition will increase by $630 to $21,430 next year, Dr. Powell said. He told the audience of staff, faculty and students that he would be "open to the strategy" of further increasing tuition costs but he thought that plan would be a "hard sale."

Dr. Powell said that he was "willing to bet" the tuition increase would be lower than those at competing colleges and universities.

College departments are also looking at bearing some of the burden of covering costs; as a whole, they will have to shoulder cuts totaling $200,000. The college also hopes to increase its annual fund by $100,000.

The president encouraged the faculty to do more to keep enrollments from slipping. Of the 60 students the college hopes to add its roster next year, 20 of them would be categorized as "retained students" or those who don't leave for other institutions.

Students in the audience bore the news of the tuition increase rather well, though one ROTC student had concerns that it could be him, and not the military, who pays for the increase.

Another student raised concerns that by growing the enrollment, the college would create parking problems. Dr. Powell said the college was planning to look into parking issues after the December meeting.

Dr. Powell also used the assembly to announce a new power structure for the college.

The college is creating an executive vice-president position to be filled by Sister Paula Marie Buley, current vice-president and treasurer of the college.

Dr. Powell said the executive vice-president will be second in command to the president, but stressed the existing vice-presidents and the new vice president of student life will not have to answer to the new executive.

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