Cecil students advocate to restore proposed funding cuts

Published on February 13, 2024

Students advocating to restore proposed funding cuts.

NORTH EAST, Md.: Cecil College’s participation in Student Advocacy Day on Tuesday, Feb. 6, was vital to demonstrating to Maryland lawmakers the important role community colleges play in the state’s economy. More than 200 students from Maryland’s 16 community colleges spent the day in Annapolis meeting with delegates to share personal stories and put a face to those stories.

“I am very proud to have had the opportunity to represent all the students at Cecil College and to ask the delegates key questions about what is going on with the state’s support of community colleges,” said Aidan Hayes, one of five Cecil College students to take part in Student Advocacy Day, which is sponsored by the Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC). “We were able to engage with the lawmakers to talk about key issues going on within the State of Maryland and community colleges. It was a day for community college students to talk to the lawmakers about the certain issues community colleges are facing.”

The importance of Student Advocacy Day has a newfound sense of urgency following Governor Wes Moore’s proposal to slash funding for the community colleges by $22 million.

Gov. Moore, who is a community college graduate, has publicly stated the budget cut is in response to lower community college enrollment and dwindling federal pandemic relief funds. The reductions were made through amendments to the state’s funding model, known as the Cade formula, which links the funding of community colleges and four-year institutions. Under that formula, two-year colleges would receive 29 cents for every $1 allocated to state universities. As part of Gov. Moore’s budget proposal, the proportion designated for community colleges will be reduced to 26.5 cents.

Community colleges have experienced a decline in enrollment since 2012, however, fall 2023 enrollment grew by 8.3 percent, which is four times greater than our public four-year institutions, according to Executive Director for Maryland Association of Community Colleges Brad Phillips.

“We are working very diligently to get the governor to restore level funding for community colleges across the state. We feel confident of having funding reinstated in a supplemental budget, ensuring none of our students are left behind,” said Cecil County State Delegate Kevin B. Hornberger.

As a proud graduate of Cecil College, he credits the mathematics professors and the math lab for providing him a strong foundation to go on to earn a mechanical engineering bachelor’s degree from the University of the District of Columbia. Today, Del. Hornberger praised the current Cecil students for their dedication and work to advocate for the College.

“I look forward every year to meeting the students from Cecil College and hearing their stories. I want to thank them for their advocacy because they are juggling their families and their education with an eye on a better life,” said Del. Hornberger.

Del. Hornberger met with the Cecil College delegation to discuss the budget difficulties the College could face and the actions he and other delegates are taking. Cecil College’s delegation included students Trisha Anderson, Criminal Justice; Jai Ash, Social Work; Miriam Peterson, Biological Sciences; Angela Teague, Art and Design; and Aidan Hayes, Management.

“Mr. Hornberger is really fighting for community colleges after learning of the budget cuts. He talked about how he is fighting to get the funding back, and he intently listened to our questions and gave us informed answers,” said Hayes.

“Student Advocacy Day is an opportunity for me that resonates a wealth of knowledge and understanding in support of all community colleges. I’m certain that our voices have been heard,” said Ash.

To learn more about the proposed budget cuts, visit mdacc.org.