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What issues, topics, and stories do you want us to cover this year?

A note from us

Welcome to the latest edition of Awake58. We hope you will stay a while. If you received this email without a subscription, please click here to subscribe to this newsletter.

We want to know what stories we should be telling this year…A recap of what’s in the Senate budget for community colleges…Colleges are announcing free college for the class of 2021…The State Board of Community Colleges meets in person this week…

Hi all,

Welcome back! This is Molly Osborne, EdNC’s news and policy director. My colleague Emily Thomas and I are filling in for Nation this month writing this newsletter and keeping you updated on all things community college on our Awake58 Twitter.

EdNC took the past two weeks off to rest, reflect, and plan for the year ahead, and we want to hear from you. What stories have we not told? What issues or topics do you want more information on? Is your college doing something especially unique and impactful? We want to hear about it.

Please take this short two-question survey and let us know what you want to see from EdNC’s community college coverage over the next year. You can also email me directly at [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you!

Take the survey here

In case you missed it, the Senate released their budget at the end of June. Emily Thomas wrote up what the Senate budget proposes for community colleges, which includes a 3% raise for community college employees over the two years (1.5% each year), $76 million for budget stabilization, start-up funds for high-cost workforce programs, funding to provide up to $750 to students pursuing workforce credentials, and more. Read the full article here.

The General Assembly was off last week, but with both the governor’s and Senate’s budget proposals already on the table, everyone is waiting to see what House lawmakers plan to spend for the next two years.

According to this article from WBTW, the House won’t be releasing its budget plan until early August. It also says that House lawmakers are anticipating higher pay raises for state employees in their budget plan than Senators put in theirs. Stay tuned.

The State Board of Community Colleges will meet Thursday and Friday this week in person at Wake Tech. You can find the agenda and board package here.

The John M. Belk Endowment and myFutureNC have launched a pilot project with five community colleges to attract more adult learners back to college. Called the Better Skills. Better Jobs. campaign, the five colleges participating are Blue Ridge Community College, Durham Tech Community College, Fayetteville Tech Community College, Pitt Community College, and Vance-Granville Community College.

According to a press release, “The goal is to connect and inform as many adults as possible in each of the community college service areas about the variety of fast, flexible, and affordable education and training programs the colleges offer. The goal is that this will result in additional students enrolled in these colleges for the Fall 2021 semester.” Learn more here.

That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading.

Molly Osborne

EdNC’s news and policy director

EdNC reads

Community colleges get 3% raises, budget stabilization, start-up funds for new programs, and more in Senate budget

On Monday, June 21, the Senate released their two-year spending plan for the state. Here are some highlights:

  • 3% raises for community college employees over two years (1.5% each year)
  • Budget stabilization funds totaling $76 million
  • Funds for broadband expansion in rural areas
  • $5.2 million to cover start-up costs for high-cost workforce programs
  • Funding for cybersecurity officers, adult learner initiatives, and more

What happens next? The House will release their budget in the coming weeks. The House and Senate will then go through their legislative process. Once the General Assembly passes a budget, it will go to the desk of  Gov. Roy Cooper, who will be faced with a decision: Does he sign the budget or does he veto it as he did during the last legislative session?

We will be following this process closely. Stay tuned to for the latest updates.

Click here for the story

We want to hear from you

At EdNC, we rely on feedback from our readers to let us know what we should be covering. What issues, topics, or stories are most important to you? What do you want to see more of from our community college coverage? What stories have we not told?

Please take this short two-question survey and let us know what you want to see from EdNC’s community college coverage over the next year. You can also email me directly at [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you!

Take the survey

Around NC

Dr. Patty Pfeiffer has been selected as Wayne Community College’s interim president following the departure of Dr. Thomas Walker. Pfeiffer is currently the college’s vice president for academic and student services. She will start as interim president on July 23, 2021.

At the end of June, the House added an amendment to Senate Bill 126 that would shorten term length for State Board of Community Colleges members from six years to four years for members appointed by the legislature and the governor. The bill passed the House and was sent back to the Senate where it failed a concurrence vote.

Forsyth Tech is offering free tuition, books, and fees to any 2021 North Carolina high school graduate, no matter their background, financial status, or any other special criteria, according to a press release. The college will use local, state, and federal dollars to fund the initiative, including the Longleaf Commitment Grant. Let us know if your college is doing something similar!

Cape Fear Community College was recently awarded a $3.9 million grant from the Department of Labor to provide educational services for area prisoners and those recently released from incarceration. According to a press release, “The Pathway Home Project will serve approximately 400 participants as they transition from incarceration to productive citizenship.”

Durham Tech and president J.B. Buxton are highlighted in this look at what’s next for higher education in the Princeton Alumni Weekly.

Halifax Community College is partnering with Strata Clean Energy on a new apprenticeship program called the Halifax Lighthouse Solar Camp. According to Solar Power World, “In May 2021, 20 high school students began training as part of the pilot program to work in solar and wind energy jobs. Students will complete a hybrid program of 96 hours classroom instruction and 80 hours of paid, work-based learning.”

Other higher education reads

Following Covid Money In Education

EdSource launched a special report looking at how colleges and districts are spending the unprecedented $69 billion in aid for higher education and $189 billion for K-12 schools. While largely focused on California, the report looks at national trends as well.

One article, titled “A breakdown of $69 billion in federal Covid relief to the nation’s colleges and universities,” shows how much money colleges and universities in each state have received and how much has been spent so far. North Carolina has received $2,230,018,072 and spent $624,893,380, or 28%. See how much individual colleges have received and spent by hovering over the dots on the map in the article.

Webinar | Higher Ed and the Post-Pandemic Employer: Adult Learners

The Chronicle of Higher Education is hosting a virtual forum Tuesday, July 13, at 2 p.m. EST to discuss the unique challenges facing adult learners today — and how colleges can better support them. From the Chronicle:

“To examine the unique challenges facing nontraditional students, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, and offer ideas of how colleges can help them along the path to a degree, The Chronicle brings together a panel of experts for the second in the two-part series, Higher Ed and the Post-Pandemic Employer. During the discussion moderated by Goldie Blumenstyk, our panel will seek to answer:

– After a year upended by the pandemic, how can colleges better serve nontraditional-age students?
– Has higher ed developed new options to engage with and support adult learners?
– How can colleges adapt to provide options that help adult learners balance their careers with their coursework?”

Student Persistence Fell During Pandemic

From Inside Higher Ed: “The rates at which newly enrolled students persisted in higher education last fall fell by two percentage points, to 73.9 percent in 2020 (for those who entered in fall 2019) from 75.9 percent in 2019 (for those who entered in fall 2018). The national persistence rate had risen from 72.4 percent in 2009, when the clearinghouse first started measuring it, and this year’s mark represented the lowest rate since 2014.”

Molly Osborne Urquhart

Molly Osborne is the vice president and Chief Operating Officer for EducationNC.