Community College Leaders, Students Advocate for Increased Funding

During Community College Day today, students, trustees, presidents, and staff from Pennsylvania’s community colleges had the opportunity to collectively advocate for an increased funding level in the 2021-22 fiscal year budget. To that end, dozens of virtual meetings between community college advocates and elected officials took place across the state. The proposed budget by Gov. Tom Wolf does not include an operating or capital funding increase for the colleges, though it does provide funding to establish a 15th Pennsylvania community college in Erie.

“Pennsylvania community colleges educate and train more than a quarter of a million students annually and are the largest provider of public postsecondary and workforce education in the Commonwealth. State investment must reflect that,” said Elizabeth Bolden, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. “Today, on Community College Day, policymakers had the opportunity to meet some of the students who have benefited from the programs and career pathways offered by community colleges.” 

The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges (PACCC) also announced the 27th Annual All-Pennsylvania Academic Team. The honor recognizes an exceptional group of community college students who have achieved academic excellence and demonstrated a commitment to their colleges and communities.

The 2021 awardees include 46 outstanding community college transfer scholars and 15 exceptional workforce pathway scholars from across the Commonwealth. Transfer students must have completed at least 36 credits at a community college and must have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher to be considered for these awards. Workforce students must have a minimum of 12 college-level credit hours at a community college and a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.

This year, a Pennsylvania student – Kerry Katz from the Community College of Allegheny County – has been named to the All-USA Academic Team, in addition to being honored as the Commonwealth’s Coca-Cola New Century Transfer Scholar. More than 2,000 students were nominated for the All-USA Academic Team from more than 1,200 college campuses across the country. Katz, who led a college food pantry fundraising campaign and other volunteer initiatives during the pandemic, will receive a $5,000 scholarship for being a member of the All-USA Team, in addition to scholarship funds awarded for being the Coca-Cola New Century Transfer Scholar from Pennsylvania. Students nominated to the national All-USA Community College Academic Team are automatically named to the All-State Community College Academic Teams. The last time a Pennsylvania student was named to the All-USA Academic Team was in 2017.

Students who receive the highest application scores in each state are named Coca-Cola New Century Transfer Pathway Scholars and Coca-Cola New Century Workforce Pathway Scholars. Northampton Community College student Josephine Milanzi is the recipient of this year’s workforce honor, which comes with a $1,250 scholarship from the Coca-Cola Educational Foundation. Katz is this year’s recipient of the transfer honor, which in addition to the All-USA scholarship, comes with a $2,250 scholarship from the Coca-Cola Educational Foundation.

Pennsylvania’s community colleges partner with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities to provide scholarships to eligible All-Pennsylvania Transfer Team members at PASSHE institutions, providing two years of tuition at any PASSHE school.

The Pennsylvania transfer awardees also include one Coca-Cola Gold Scholar who will receive a $1,500 scholarship, two Coca-Cola Silver Scholars who will receive $1,250 scholarships and four Coca-Cola Bronze Scholars who will receive $1,000 scholarships.

The All-USA Community College Academic Team is sponsored by Cengage, with additional support provided by Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK) and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). The New Century Scholars program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation, Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, PTK and the AACC.

The transfer and workforce pathway scholars are typically honored at an annual banquet at the Harrisburg Hilton. The students were celebrated virtually with a video presentation which includes messages from each student’s community college President.

The following students are members of the All-Pennsylvania Academic Transfer and Workforce Pathway Teams:

Community College of Allegheny County

  • Mohammed Alkatea*
  • Amy Cole
  • Fadimeana Demiryurek*
  • Samantha Dunsworth
  • Kerry Katz, All-USA Academic Team Member, Coca-Cola New Century Transfer Pathway Scholar
  • Peghwende Kabore-Ouedraogo
  • Melinda McCloskey, Coca-Cola Bronze Scholar
  • Noah Miller*
  • Marcus Alexander O’Brien
  • Victoria Peters*
  • Jeremy Robertson
  • Jennifer Sayre, Coca-Cola Bronze Scholar

Community College of Beaver County

  • Daniel Carr
  • Hayley Pauvlinch, Coca-Cola Silver Scholar
  • Meghan Rosendale, Coca-Cola Silver Scholar

Bucks County Community College

  • Joshua Filer
  • Samantha Haines
  • Denise Keyser

Butler County Community College

  • Jaysa Ditty
  • Sydni Smith

Delaware County Community College

  • DeChanel Bailey-Castillo
  • Priscilla Kongo
  • Guinevere Paviglianiti
  • Victoria Wilson, Coca-Cola Bronze Scholar

HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College

  • Teresa Becket
  • Brianne Beiler
  • Morgan Czapp*
  • Rachel Fleagle, Coca-Cola Gold Scholar
  • Elva Hoover
  • Jennifer Martin*
  • Harrison Monahan
  • Christian Rutkowski*
  • Jayce Schwartzbeck
  • Kristianna West

Lehigh Carbon Community College

  • Jamie Knerr
  • Brook Lutz*
  • Ian Miller
  • Makaela Schoenly*

Luzerne County Community College      

  • Megan Kovitch*
  • Heather Lee
  • Cristina Spradlin, Coca-Cola Bronze Scholar

Montgomery County Community College

  • Anuj Kamani
  • Shaneann Marshall-Hylton
  • Josh Taban
  • Lloyd Yoo

Northampton Community College

  • Caitlin George*
  • Rebecca James
  • Nia Marrow
  • Evan Meister
  • Josephine Milanzi, Coca-Cola New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar*
  • Victoria Rosenthal

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College

  • Maddelyn Hoover
  • Isabella Nagy
  • Madison Piatak
  • Sydney Wells*

Community College of Philadelphia

  • Daina Garvey
  • AsiaRay Johnson

Reading Area Community College

  • Carolina Hidalgo-Ahmed
  • Aaron Valentine

Westmoreland County Community College

  • Aayla Beck
  • Roman Carnes

*Denotes Workforce Pathway Scholar