Students at Community College of Allegheny County could face a third tuition hike in 12 months if county council adopts a 2012 budget that cuts CCAC funding by $7 million, the school's president warned on Thursday.
Speaking to members of council's budget and finance committee, President Alex Johnson described cost-cutting steps the college already has taken in response to previous reductions in state and county funding. The loss of another $7 million from the college's $104 million budget could mean layoffs, closing of facilities and higher borrowing costs, he said.
More than a dozen students, faculty members and graduates urged council on Thursday to restore CCAC funding when they pass an operating budget for 2012.
County Executive Dan Onorato proposed a $7 million reduction in county funding for CCAC from about $23 million to $16 million. Council, however, has the final say on spending. Councilman William Robinson, chairman of the budget and finance committee, said he would present alternative budget proposals for council to consider when it meets on Tuesday.
His proposals will reflect comments from more than 90 people who spoke to council on Wednesday and Thursday about 2012 spending. Almost all of the speakers urged council to restore $5 million in funding for human services programs and the $7 million for the community college.
CCAC tuition has risen from $85.25 per credit hour last year to $87.25 this fall. College trustees increased that number to $95.50 per credit for spring semester. Tuition would have to increase another $9 per credit hour if the county funding cut goes through, Mr. Johnson said.
"These increases are making the community college unaffordable," CCAC student Genesis Hammond-Schrock, of West Mifflin, told council members.
Correction/Clarification: (Published November 12, 2011) Max Langlois, student government president at CCAC South Campus, on Thursday set on fire a $20 bill that he had just received from Allegheny County Councilman John P. DeFazio after Mr. Langlois had talked about budget difficulties: his own and the college's. A caption on a photo Friday incorrectly stated the reason Mr. Langlois lit the bill.