BALTIMORE COUNTY — The Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) is allocating millions of dollars it has received from the CCBC Foundation as well as federal, state and county grants to allow students to attend the coming fall semester tuition-free.

”What we realized is that if we assemble together all our funds in one place we could actually award many tuition scholarships. We are going to give it away until it’s all gone. It’s many millions of dollars.,” CCBC President Sandra Kurtinitis said.

Some of the money CCBC will be providing to students will have specific requirements attached to it while some will not. Kurtinitis said degree-seeking students are not the only ones to benefit from CCBC’s tuition-free offer. Anyone interested in acquiring new skills through workforce training programs also qualifies.

”If you lost your job or your unemployment check is coming to an end, come see us. We have hundreds of short term training credentials and for the most part we can make them free,” Kurtinitis said.

With COVID-19 restricting the ability to have in person classes, attending community college has quickly become a reality for many students who originally planed to move out and head to a four year school. Kurtinitis said CCBC is a great way for students to still continue their education while saving a lot of money—something a lot of students and families are eager to do nowadays.

“We just want to help out our community during this time when people are in situations they never thought they would be in,” Kurtinitis said.

“We expect to offer a variety of course options for the fall – online, in-person and hybrid – and gladly welcome back our currently enrolled students. We also hope to see many new students, particularly those seeking an alternative to returning to their four-year universities due to COVID-19 concerns.”

In the spring when CCBC had to switch to totally remote classes, it saw over 4,200 class withdrawals. Kurtinitis said they realized, quickly, that many students could not do remote learning and simply stepped away. However, with the stimulus money CCBC received in the spring, each of the students who had to withdrawal received a CCBC Cares emergency grant to enable them to retake the class this summer or this coming fall.

Kurtinitis said CCBC is determined to prevent what happened in the spring semester and keep as many students students from withdrawing during this fall semester. Around 20 to 25 percent of the classes will be in person/hands on while 80 percent of the classes will be a hybrid of online learning/video learning and in class instruction.

“We are trying to right a wrong.We are committed to having some classes be in person. It’s hard to fix an automobile motor if you can’t take it apart. It’s hard to give a dental hygiene check without having real patients to work on. We refer these classes as CTE classes, Career Technology Education classes. They require hands on work,” Kurtinitis said.

“We have been testing out our capacity this summer with around 25 percent of classes being in person. Our classrooms have been “covidized”. We had a team working all summer putting miles of plexiglass it seems throughout our six cites and we have classrooms set up for the appropriate distancing.”

Another way CCBC is “covidizing” classes is by having locations at the campuses where students can use CCBC computers to take online classes.

“We have a lot of computers sitting idle and computer labs not being used. So we will have these sections that will follow all the right protocols for students who don’t have computers at home or internet or don’t live in environments that are conducive for online learning,” Kurtinitis said.

In addition to providing tuition-free or tuition reduced scholarships, CCBC’s tuition rate is $122 per credit hour for in-county residents — a rate which has remained steady since 2018. A student enrolling for 12 credits tuition-free could save nearly $1,500.

“We want students to know that taking courses this fall at CCBC is a great option for anyone pursuing their college degree or interested in workforce training,” Kurtinitis said.

“You can’t beat the quality of education that we provide. And for Fall 2020, you definitely can’t beat tuition-free.”

To see if you qualify, visit www.ccbcmd.edu/freetuition.

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