Latest Town Hall Meeting Addresses Revenue Concerns, Scholarship Money

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Dr. Pollard, president of Montgomery College, addressed several issues at Montgomery College during her most recent Town Hall meeting in the Science Center of the Rockville campus on Thursday, Nov. 6.

 

Though there haven’t been any crises on campus, per say, financially or otherwise, there was still plenty to discuss.

 

Many students have expressed and muttered some concern regarding whether financial aid compensation will be either lessened or harder to obtain–a change mostly speculated due to the recent results of the November elections.

 

“We know [Governor Elect Hogan’s] plan is to reduce taxes. The taxes will be reduced at the state level, which means there will be less money coming into the county, with in turn less money coming into the college,” said Dr. Pollard.

 

With full understanding that Montgomery College will in turn receive less money down the road, it seems Pollard and her administration are bracing for adjustments in one or more departments due to funding.

 

“We have not yet entertained the issue of tuition. Last year there was a $3 increase, while the year before there wasn’t any increase. I don’t know if that’s sustainable in this year,” Pollard added. “Our major known commitments are more significant this year in terms of compensation, keeping buildings open, insurance costs, or whatever the case may be.”

 

Pollard also referenced the costs of the new buildings on each campus, including the new Science Center in Germantown, which cost MC about $90 million to construct and requires 20 staff members to maintain on a regular basis.

 

The college’s president further speculated on what might happen with students’ financial aid eligibility, but maintained the concept that it’s ultimately up to the state of Md., due to legal implications.

 

Moreover, MC’s lack of revenue sources are a concern.

 

“We know the federal government is still having conversations about what qualifies for financial aid. Revenue is the issue. If we’re going to increase our expenditures, we’re going to have to generate more revenue, and our revenue sources are very few,” said Pollard.

 

Conversely, although revenue streams and funding seem to be a concern, the Montgomery College Foundation showed solid numbers in the way of helping students obtain scholarships, while also raising money for various uses at MC.

 

“$1.5 million have been raised by the foundation, a 119 percent increase since this point last year,” said Pollard.

 

She also added that In the past two years, they’ve raised almost 6.6 million.

 

The foundation leaders also explained a future program entitled “MC Promise,” which is intended to eventually give somewhere between 500-800 students a scholarship to Montgomery College, but MC’s foundation is still trying to create what they’re calling a “sustainable model.”

 

The department is in the midst of a $30 million campaign, with about 80 percent of that money going to scholarships.

 

What’s more, there are concerns outside the financial realm of the college, specifically regarding inconsistent transportation resources for students.

 

Several students have given weight to the story that some Ride-On bus drivers have not been accepting MC student ID’s with the proper semester sticker as a free pass–a free service for which the college pays Ride-On.

 

“This is the first time I’ve heard of that,” said Pollard. “As much money as we pay to Ride-On, I’m very concerned about that. If that’s a training or awareness issue, we can do some work with that.”

 

Dewey Yeatts, the VP of Facilities and Security at the college, told the room that MC talks with Ride-On weekly, and hasn’t heard of such issues.

 

“It does not make business sense for them to turn students’ ID’s away, because the basis of which we pay them is measured by the number of students who ride their buses.”

 

Yeatts mentioned that the college currently pays Ride-On just over $1.7 million per year, but that number is likely to rise above $2 million in 2015.”

 

Pollard also introduced MC’s new VP of Communications, Ray Gilbert.