News about Virginia’s Community Colleges is spreading.
This week, we were mentioned in the Wall Street Journal online — as well as several business wire services — for our emphasis on transfers as a way to mitigate against higher education cost increases:
Like many states, Virginia saw the financial wisdom of channeling more in-state students to community colleges for their first two years of higher education – rather than building or vastly expanding costlier four-year schools – by promising automatic transfers into its state universities with a minimum grade-point average.
The result: Community-college graduates can even gain automatic entry into the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, one of the top public universities in the country. The program has proven especially valuable for underachieving high-school students who upon proving themselves capable in community college can complete their bachelor’s degree at state universities for which their high-school transcripts would have denied them access.
“Word of the guaranteed-transfer agreements we have with 30 public and private four-year schools is only now beginning to penetrate into the marketplace,” Kraus says. “We think it’s going to become incredibly popular even after the economy recovers.”
And Mountain Empire Community College and Patrick Henry Community College were both mentioned in recent news stories about the Gates Foundation and their grants to help students complete college, due to their successes in the Lumina Foundation’s Achieving the Dream project.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy commends MECC for “a strategy that works,” with a fast-paced remedial mathematics program resulting in a 60 percent pass rate, compared to 27 percent in standards classes.
The Raleigh News & Observer noted that Achieving the Dream helps reduce dropout rates in remedial classes in PHCC as well. Gates Foundation funds will help the Achieving the Dream project continue.
Meanwhile back in Virginia, the city of Roanoke’s guarantee of a free tuition at VWCC for city students with a grade point average of 2.0 is designed to boost high school graduation rates and give students an opportunity to begin a college career. Here’s VWCC President Bobby Sandel’s editorial blog on the topic published in the Roanoke Times. And other colleges are being noted for record enrollments this fall, including J. Sargeant Reynolds (Fox NEWS) and Wytheville Community College (Bland County Messenger) .
— posted by Susan Hayden
The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education has named the first-ever recipients of a new, statewide scholarship: The Gerald L. Baliles Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship.
Established in 2007 through private donations, the scholarships honor former Governor Baliles’ career in public service and his contributions to higher education in Virginia.
Terry Oakes, of Collinsville, and Vicky Thomas, of Bassett, are the two recipients of the scholarships this year. The two non-traditional students have both wanted to pursue a new career in nursing, but have lacked the resources to do so.
The two students, who will each receive $2,500, have something else in common: they both attend Patrick Henry Community College.
Read the news release for more information on these scholarship winners.
Across the Commonwealth, Virginia’s Community Colleges are looking at new options for making classes flexible and accessible to students, even in the face of increasing gas prices.
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College is launching “Fuel Smart Fridays,” allowing students the ability to bunch all of their classes together on Friday to save commuting costs. And local media are taking notice — a number of local TV stations as well as the Richmond Times Dispatch have covered the Reynolds plan.
Further south, the Martinsville Bulletin applauded earlier this week Patrick Henry Community College’s plans to offer more “block” schedules on its Sunday editorial page:
Hat’s off to: Patrick Henry Community College for making changes in its fall class schedules so students can make less trips to campus, and save gas, if they choose. Since PHCC has no students living on campus, it recognizes that commuting costs likely are an issue for many — if not all — of its nearly 1,300 students.
Local TV stations are also covering their efforts – see the video clip from Roanoke’s WSLS.
Earlier this month, Virginia Highlands was among the first community colleges nationwide to receive coverage for the same concept – see the Bristol Herald Courier — moving from three-times-a-week classes to twice-a-week, reserving Friday for classes that just meet once each week.
Community colleges have always been flexible in meeting the needs of their communities. They can act fast to respond to local needs, including new programs to meet workforce needs. It’s nice that they are getting noticed for it.
— Posted by Susan Hayden
It was a little over a week ago that Governor Tim Kaine made it official that Virginia’s community colleges -along with all of state government – will have to cut about 5 percent from their budgets. Newspapers across the state have asked several community college presidents or staff how they are planning to meet that request. Their answers, in the stories below, are by freezing vacant positions, not creating planned new positions, and by adjusting programs. Here is what some of our colleges have had to say:
Germanna cuts costs, keeps jobs – Culpeper Star Exponent, 10.5.07
A Southwest Virginia mobile health clinic and several community colleges are affected by state budget cuts – Bristol Herald Courier, 10.4.07
Colleges hurt by budget cuts – Danville Register & Bee, 10.3.07
UVa, PVCC ready to deal with spending reductions – Charlottesville Daily Progress, 10.2.07
College budgets are cut – Martinsville Bulletin, 10.2.07
Colleges forced to cut to meet budget shortfall – Daily Press, 10.2.07
Gov. Kaine to lay off 74 state workers – Daily Press, 10.1.07
Posted by Susan Hayden
Posted in General, Legislative News
Tagged community college, Danville Community College, Germanna Community College, Governor Tim Kaine, Patrick Henry Community College, Piedmont Virginia Community College, Southwest Virginia Community College, state budget cuts, Thomas Nelson Community College, VCCS