A chart in the July 23 issue of The Maryland Weekly gave an incorrect figure for the increase in the enrollment of Charles County Community College. The fall 1986 enrollment of 4,553 represents a 2 percent increase over the fall 1985 enrollment of 4,462. (Published 9/ 3/87)

The community colleges in Anne Arundel and Howard counties, relying on phenomenal development in the region, are defying a trend of declining enrollments and are among the fastest growing in the state's 17-school system.

But the schools' successes are expensive, and officials, complaining that they do not receive adequate funding from the state, are seeking help from private industry and the counties.

While most community colleges in Maryland have lost full- and part-time students enrolled for credit during the past two years, Anne Arundel Community College had an increase of 8.3 percent, or 767 students, the highest in the state. The school registered more than 10,000 students last fall.

Howard Community College this year also attracted 209 new students, a 6.3 percent increase, to total 3,530. In comparison, Prince George's Community College, with an enrollment of 12,435 students, lost 2.7 percent of its enrollment this year. Montgomery College's campuses in Rockville and Germantown increased 3 and 2 percent respectively, but Takoma Park fell 5 percent. The total enrollment in the three Montgomery campuses was 19,441.

The state community college system as a whole lost 1.3 percent of its enrollment.

Dr. Thomas E. Florestano, president of Anne Arundel Community College, explained, "Given the corridor the counties are in, growth was not to be unexpected . . . .

"We saw an upper-middle-class, pro-education and high-tech community moving in {to the county}. We calculated and studied this growth. We assumed if we could mainstream the college, make the investments internally and meet the growth, it would be successful."

Added to the increase in students going to school for credit is a doubling in the number of students seeking continuing education classes at Howard and Anne Arundel.

Continuing education students, who often take one no-credit class at a time, are increasing dramatically throughout the state, and at many schools are becoming the mainstay of the institutions.

But the growth at Anne Arundel and Howard has not been painless, as the community college officials struggle to find needed money to handle the new students.

They have been forced to rely increasingly on the generosity of county officials to help offset their deficits and have criticized the state for an outdated budget allocation formula that does not recognize their growth.

Funding for the 17 community colleges comes from three sources: the state, the county and student tuition and fees. The state set a goal of 50 percent funding from the state, 28 percent from the counties and 22 percent from tuition.

But according to James T. Tschechtelin, executive director of the State Board for Community Colleges, the funding has averaged about a third from each source.

For next year, the Howard County Council allocated an extra $400,000 to help reduce an expected tuition increase. The county provides $4.1 million, or 34 percent of the school's total $11.9 million 1988 budget. Another $3.7 million comes from tuition and $2.7 million from the state.

The rest comes from other sources such as grants.

Anne Arundel County provides 45 percent, or $9.9 million, of that school's $22 million operating budget for 1988. The state adds $6.6 million to the coffer and tuition contributes $5.4 million.

State funds are dependent on the school's enrollment, and community college officials have complained that they are not getting their share of Maryland's education dollars and that the university system has a favored status. They want the state to fund community colleges as it does the university system -- through an annually adjusted flat grant. This, the officials said, would help keep up with fixed costs.

The schools with declining enrollments argue that many of their costs, such as building maintenance, are fixed and even though the number of students is lower, the state funds are needed to continue to cover those expenses.

The situation is complicated for schools such as Howard and Anne Arundel, because their enrollments are growing but the state funding formula relies on two-year-old enrollment figures. Officials there also argue that even when the enrollment increases are considered, the added money from the state is not enough to cover the new costs. Although their needs are different from those of the community colleges with declining enrollments, they have joined in the effort to seek an increase in state funding.

Florestano said the funds Anne Arundel received from the state would have been fine if enrollment stayed even, but the situation is complicated with the growth. "I have to hire additional faculty and pay for more lights, etc.," he said. "The state is no longer going to fund us for growth. The problem the college faces is, if it grows, who'll pay the difference? The county? Tuition?"

"The state's portion has been gradually decreasing," said Dwight A. Burrill, president of Howard Community College. "It hasn't kept up with inflation; they've put the money elsewhere. We've lost 29 percent below the rate of inflation."

Though Florestano acknowledged the county's help, he said he still needed an additional $350,000 for faculty in the 1988 budget.

"If the county doesn't give us the money, we'll have to trim our schedule. For example, instead of 30 accounting sections, we might have to offer 20. We'd also trim back the courses that don't get state funding, such as physical education for adults; the state feels these are avocational. We could have a tuition raise at January."

Both schools' academic areas of growth have been in the business and computer science programs. Florestano said he had problems finding and hiring competent teachers for the departments, as a result.

"You have to recruit to meet the growth," he explained. "You have to have a person who's professional and can teach. Just because they have a master's in business doesn't mean they are able to speak to a class." Last fall, 60 sections were added, taught by part-time instructors.

Howard's major problem was having enough space, Burrill said. "We're breaking ground this year on two buildings. One will be the student center, half paid for by the county and the other half by the students. The tech building is half county-funded and half state-funded."

The community colleges are also beginning to recognize local business as a good source of added revenue. Howard received $86,943 in 1986 in the form of scholarships or money given for curriculum enhancement and facility development. Anne Arundel got $16,576 in corporate scholarships and a $20,000 grant from Southern Maryland Oil Inc. to install two satellite dishes.

Florestano said local companies have "chipped in" on scholarships and tuition for their employes. Anne Arundel also cooperates with several, such as Westinghouse Electric Corp. and Honeywell Inc., to do joint business and training ventures.