A graphic Saturday contained an incorrect tuition rate for the University of Maryland at Baltimore. The correct hourly tuition rate is $96 for in-state students, $170 for out-of-state students. (Published 2/23/88)

Howard Community College, already one of the most expensive community colleges in Maryland, plans to increase tuition by as much as $5 a credit hour this fall, a move college officials acknowledge may price out some less affluent students.

The proposed tuition increase, which would be the second in two years at the Columbia campus, is contained in a $13.4 million operating budget to be voted on Wednesday by the college's board of trustees. The proposed budget for the 1988-89 school year then will be sent to the county executive and the County Council.

The proposed increase from $40 to as much as $45 a credit hour would affect only the 2,976 part-time and 776 full-time students who are taking courses for credit. If the increase takes place, the cost for the average full-time student who takes 13.64 credit hours a semester, would jump by $68.20, from $545.60 to $613.80. The cost for the average part-time student would increase from $192.40 to $216.45.

Eighty percent of the proposed budget increase will go toward salaries and benefits. The school plans to add four new positions plus a part-time professor.

Dan L. Walsch, the college's director of public relations, said school officials Wednesday will consider raising tuition between $3 and $5 a credit hour.

Walsch said college officials, worried that back-to-back tuition increases could force some poor students to drop out of school, may designate $1 of the higher fee for scholarships or work assistance programs.

School officials estimate the dollar set-aside will generate about $50,000, of which $15,000 would be designated for student work assistance and $35,000 for scholarships.

Last year, the college increased tuition $5 to $40 a credit hour to help finance its current $11.9 million operating budget. Financing for the community college comes from three sources: state higher education funds, county taxpayers and tuition.

The trend among Maryland community colleges in the last few years has been to rely on higher tuitions and more county funding to defray rising costs and declining state aid, said Lawrence Nespoli, associate executive director of the Maryland State Board of Community Colleges.

Some community colleges, such as Prince George's, have increased tuition nearly 100 percent in three years, from $22 a credit hour to $40, Nespoli said. The Maryland legislature is scheduled Friday to consider an omnibus higher education bill that calls for an additional $6 million in aid for community colleges, he said.