Gov. L. Douglas Wilder's recent approval of a tuition surcharge at Northern Virginia Community College drew positive reviews from student leaders and college administrators.

The fee was proposed by NOVA students to offset a $2.5 million cut in state funds to the school. Student organizers asked for the added fee when they realized that certain services and classes on the school's five campuses were being deleted.

"He {Wilder} heard our cries and in order not to raise tuition, he helped us with the overall cuts," said Milton Hodges, chairman of United Student Leaders for Quality Education, the group that petitioned students for support of the surcharge. "It is obvious that the students made the difference."

Originally, a $3 surcharge on each credit hour was proposed by the students, but Wilder reduced the amount to $1.20 an hour. Most classes consist of three credit hours.

"The {amount of the} surcharge is fine with us," Hodges said. "It should take care of the problems we have now."

The surcharge will be tacked onto each credit hour beginning in the spring semester. For classes beginning next summer, the amount will be reduced to 85 cents, which will stay in effect for the next school year, ending in May 1992.

For students, that translates into paying $29.80 a credit hour beginning next spring instead of the present $28.60.

Hodges said the surcharge is not a tuition increase because the funds raised by the surcharge will stay at NOVA and go toward offsetting its budget cuts. Tuition monies go directly to the state to be paid out to all state colleges.

"The students should be commended for working so hard on this," said Elizabeth Grizzard, dean of student development on the Annandale campus. "They knew what they were doing and got what they wanted."

"I'm very proud of them," said Terry Johnson, coordinator for student activities on the Annandale campus. "They immediately formulated a plan of action. They helped to turn the tide."

"I'm happy with the surcharge to a certain point. I'm glad we won't lose any more teachers," said business administration major John Forry. "But I'm disappointed about the cuts across the board by the governor in the first place. He should have made cuts in other areas, like those people that have big salaries. They should have cut more of the chiefs and less of the Indians."

To make up for revenue lost by the reduction in the surcharge, Wilder reduced the 10 percent overall budget cut he proposed for the school in August to 9.75 percent, beginning next spring. In the next fiscal year, Wilder will amend the percentage further to 9.16 percent.

According to Roy Flores, dean of financial and administrative services, the revenue raised by implementing the surcharge and lowering the reduction percentage should bring in about $290,800 for the school this year and lower the cut to about $2 million.

"It will keep us from having to make additional layoffs, on the basis that there are no more cuts by the state," Flores said.