Good new, bad news for college in 2011

There is definitely anticipation in the air at Howard College this year.

Trepidation, too.

As Howard heads toward a notable anniversary, officials say there's much to celebrate in 2011, but there's a few things to worry about, as well.

Chief among the worries facing Howard is the “state of the state” — how the economic downturn will effect the amount of state financial aid the college receives.

The college is already coping with a 7½ percent decrease in state aid within the past 12 months, and may face further cuts in the immediate future, said Dr. Cheryl Sparks, HC president.

“We've been told … it's likely we'll see an additional 10 percent cut (in state money) as part of this year's legislative process,” Sparks said. “But nothing's been settled, yet. It could get better, it could get worse. But we're going in knowing it's going to be a challenge.”

Cutting an additional 10 percent from the budget could end up costing the college a total of $2 million. Sparks didn't say how Howard would deal with the loss of that much revenue, but noted officials were working on contingencies.

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