TRENTON, N.J.—Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes and the Board of Chosen Freeholders announced today that the County would divert an additional $550,000 of County surplus funds to Mercer County Community College (MCCC) in order to lessen an expected tuition increase to be announced at tomorrow’s Board of School Estimate meeting in which tuition rates must be set.

“Given the announced cut in state funding of 11% towards MCCC, we are including this additional funding to the budget of Mercer County Community College so that we can keep the opportunity of higher education within reach for all County residents”, began Hughes.  “While we still hope that the cut funding is restored by the State Legislature during the budget process, we felt that we needed to take action now to keep our best and brightest here in Mercer County and to prevent an education at MCCC from becoming cost-prohibitive”. 

The $550,000 in funding from Mercer County will be in addition to the more than $12 million dollars in County funding that is already allotted to MCCC in the 2006 budget.  The additional funding will come out of the County surplus fund.  Prior to the additional funding, tuition rates were expected to increase $12 per tuition hour.  With the additional funding, tuition rates will only increase by $7 per tuition hour.

"This Freeholder Board continues to take an active interest in the education of students in Mercer County”, added Freeholder Chairman Keith Hamilton.  “In order to keep education affordable, we're making every effort to move money out of surplus to reduce the tuition increase at Mercer County Community College from 12 dollars per credit hour to 7 dollars per credit hour”.