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Awake58: How the open doors stay open for your local college

This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. Click here to subscribe. 

How the open doors stay open for your local college

Happy Tuesday.  Were you forwarded this email? Click here to subscribe or send the link to your friends.

James Sprunt has a new president… Kimberly Gold is leaving Robeson Community College to head to the system office… We explored the historic funding patterns for our community colleges, the current funding model, and the challenges ahead…

Good day!  Dr. Jimmy Carraway was named president of James Sprunt Community College. Carraway comes from Lenoir Community College where he was the vice president of continuing education. In other significant personnel moves, Kimberly Gold, the president of Robeson Community College, will leave the college to serve as the senior vice president and chief academic officer of the NC Community College System.

Our special look at funding and enrollment patterns continues with two in-depth pieces from John Quinterno. I encourage you to read both: “How the ‘open doors’ stay open: Funding North Carolina’s community colleges” and “From a changing student body to fewer state dollars: The challenges of funding North Carolina’s community colleges.”

I am particularly curious to know what you think of the challenges John outlined for your colleges:

  1. Funding stability: John highlights how the funding in-arrears model can leave a college with a significant uptick of students to serve and no state funds to serve them.
  2. Funding adequacy: He also highlights the dual role of colleges in serving both workforce development and higher education needs contrasted with the actual funding allocated. He argues this puts a strain on faculty compensation and the high cost of preparing students for highly technical fields.
  3. Performance funding: John labels performance funding as “an appealing, unproven framework.” This statement stood out: “Despite the popularity and intuitive appeal of performance funding, there exists little firm evidence supporting its effectiveness, and what little evidence exists is dated. It also is an open question whether performance funding creates disincentives to serving non-traditional or at-risk students—such as low-skilled working adults or low-income students—on the grounds that it is harder to help such students meet the standards needed to draw performance awards.”
  4. Supporting a changing student body: John points out how funding has not increased to support the multi-faceted role of colleges, ranging from two-year degrees to remedial education to short-term workforce development, as well as the increasingly diverse student body. He highlights the lack of need-based funding for the colleges that serve a high percentage of low socioeconomic students as one example of the reality on the ground.

I highly recommend you read both pieces all the way through. At the end, John discusses the “great cost shift” from states funding higher education to students bearing more of the cost. Please let me know what you think of these challenges, how your college is grappling with them, and if you would add any others to the list by replying directly to this email.



EdNC Reads

How the ‘open doors’ stay open: Funding North Carolina’s community colleges

“The only valid philosophy for North Carolina is the philosophy of total education; a belief in the incomparable worth of all human beings … whose talents the state needs and must develop to the fullest possible degree,” said W. Dallas Herring. How has the system done so historically? John Quinterno explores the reality of the funding patterns behind the open door philosophy.

From a changing student body to fewer state dollars: The challenges of funding North Carolina’s community colleges

Read all the way to the end to see the many challenges faced in funding, including this powerful point on the “cost shift”: “The consequences of this shift have been borne by low-income students, many of whom either forego higher education or borrow heavily to attend. The result is a narrowing of educational opportunities, especially for those who could benefit the most, such as many of the students served by North Carolina’s 58 community colleges.”

Video: College and career readiness, explained 

You have likely heard the term college and career readiness. What does that mean, and how is our state doing? Check out the video as we continue to explore the realities of the North Carolina education pipeline.

Video: Kizzie Harrison on balancing education goals with life’s obstacles

Kizzie Harrison has faced many challenges in life ranging from the death of her son’s father to her daughter being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Nash Community College, Single Stop, and Marbeth Holmes made a difference in her trajectory. Kizzie is now planning to use her culinary degree to help others with dietary conditions and restrictions.

Dr. Jimmy (Jay) Carraway approved by State Board as next president of James Sprunt Community College

James Sprunt Community College has a new president. Dr. Jimmy Carraway currently serves as the vice president of continuing education at Lenoir Community College. He will take over as president of James Sprunt on April 29.

Community college system president makes case for legislative priorities

President Peter Hans made the case for the system legislative priorities ranging from parity funding for short-term workforce development to better funding for information technology to an expansion of career coaches. Hans also raised the issue of faculty pay.


Other Reads

Income Before: $18,000. After: $85,000. Does Tiny Nonprofit Hold a Key to the Middle Class?

Increasingly nonprofits are also stepping into the workforce training space. Check out this article from the New York Times on one such nonprofit called Pursuit and their early returns.

Learning while you earn in college

One key statement about the role of college jobs: “But students can and should get more from college jobs than a paycheck; they also deserve a professional experience that will allow them to apply their classroom learning, give them some polish, and make them more desirable to recruiters post-graduation.”

‘I Need A Degree In Order To Move Forward’: Why Some Adults Choose College

Important reminder: “In 2018, nearly 7.6 million college students were 25 years old and over, according to estimates from the federal government. That’s about 2 in 5 students in higher education.” Click over to see a number of compelling stories from adult students.



EducationNC ( believes a more informed, connected, and engaged North Carolina is a better North Carolina. Thank you so much for joining us in the conversation around our students, our state, and our future. If you have any questions about our mission and vision, feel free to email me.


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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.