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Focus on Montgomery County Community College

Each month, the Commission highlights one of Pennsylvania’s 14 public community colleges.

This month, we share information about Montgomery County Community College.

PA Community College Supporters Gather at Capitol for Annual Lobby Day

Pennsylvania community college students, trustees, faculty and staff joined together at the Capitol today to advocate for an increased funding level in the 2016-17 fiscal year budget as part of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges’ annual Lobby Day.

The colleges support the budget proposed by the Wolf Administration, which suggests providing an additional $11.3 million in operations funding and $48.869 million in total capital funding for the community colleges.

“While the scope of the colleges’ efforts is wide-ranging, higher education and workforce training are at the core of every community college initiative,” said Mr. Thomas P. Leary, President of Luzerne County Community College and Board Chair of the Commission. “If the Commonwealth is to sustain its economic recovery and attract new industries, it will need to invest in the institutions and programs that provide highly skilled and trained employees to support those industries.”

The mission of Pennsylvania’s community colleges is to provide high-quality, affordable and accessible higher education and workforce training in the Commonwealth.

“Pennsylvania’s community colleges are flexible and responsive to the needs of their communities,” said Sen. Bob Mensch, co-chair of the Pennsylvania Community College Caucus. “Whether the colleges are partnering with schools in the K-12 community, other institutions of higher education, or employers, community colleges address the educational and workforce needs of all Pennsylvanians.”

In the 2014-15 academic year, Pennsylvania’s community colleges enrolled nearly 314,000 students from all 67 counties in the state, making community colleges the largest providers of higher education in Pennsylvania.  In that same year, they provided a foundation for more than 34,500 students who sought transfer to four-year institutions, and provided $11.3 million in customized training which allowed Pennsylvanians to either acquire new skills or upgrade existing skills.

“Pennsylvania’s community colleges are vital to developing and growing the Commonwealth’s workforce,” said Representative Stan Saylor, Chair of the Pennsylvania House Education Committee. “By working together with employers in their region, community colleges help to ensure that Pennsylvania’s workforce has the skills and education that businesses need.”

Last week, the Commission joined with the State System of Pennsylvania to announce a statewide reverse transfer agreement, which provides an opportunity for students who have transferred from a community college in Pennsylvania to a State System university to receive an associate’s degree once they earn a total of at least 60 credits.

“Pennsylvania’s community colleges provide an accessible, high-quality, affordable education and workforce training to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians each year,” said Representative James R. Roebuck, who serves as minority chair of the House Education Committee and is also a member of the Board of Trustees at the Community College of Philadelphia. “I will continue to work with my colleagues in the General Assembly to ensure the colleges receive adequate funding so that they may continue on their vitally important mission.”

In addition to the rally, approximately 275 Pennsylvania community college students spent the day visiting with their local legislators to advocate on behalf of the community colleges’ FY 16-17 budget request. The colleges also set up displays highlighting the varied, cutting-edge subjects that community college students in Pennsylvania are studying, including nursing, aquaponics, and STEM programs.

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The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges is a voluntary membership association for Pennsylvania’s community colleges.  Its members include the college presidents, members of the colleges’ boards of trustees, and key college administrators.  The Commission represents the interests of and advocates for the collective needs of the community colleges to federal and state policymakers.  For more information, please visit www.pacommunitycolleges.org.

 

Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges

April 4-5, 2016 in Harrisburg, PA.

Details to follow.

PA community colleges, State System universities sign statewide ‘reverse transfer’ agreement

PA community colleges, State System universities sign statewide ‘reverse transfer’ agreement

Initiative allows former community college students to obtain associate’s degree with credits they’ve already earned

Harrisburg – Students who began their studies at a community college in Pennsylvania before transferring to a university within Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education might already have earned enough credits to receive their first degree.  And now there’s an easy way for them to get it, through the newly launched “reverse transfer” initiative.

The 14 community colleges in the state and 14 State System universities today signed a statewide reverse transfer agreement that will allow students who have earned at least 60 total credits to apply for an associate’s degree from the community college where they started.

Receiving the degree could immediately enhance the student’s earning potential, even as he or she continues working toward a bachelor’s degree or other certification or credential at a State System university.

“The State System universities and the community colleges are natural partners,” said State System Chancellor Frank T. Brogan. “This agreement is another example of how we can work together on behalf of students all across the Commonwealth. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

“Collaborating with the State System on this agreement is the next step in the commitment of Pennsylvania’s community colleges to increase student completion rates to benefit both students individually and the Commonwealth as a whole,” said Luzerne County Community College President Thomas P. Leary, who also serves as chair of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges.

A student who earns an associate’s degree is more likely to complete the work necessary to receive a bachelor’s degree. “If their studies toward a bachelor’s degree are interrupted for any reason, with this program, they will still have their associate’s degree, which will benefit them as they prepare to enter the workforce or will help enable them to move up the career ladder,” said Elizabeth Bolden, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges.

Many students who initially enroll at a community college do so with the intent of eventually earning a bachelor’s degree, staying long enough to earn an associate’s degree before transferring to a four-year college or university. Some leave before earning a degree, either to transfer or to go directly into the workforce.

The Reverse Transfer Program gives those who transferred without a credential a pathway to their first college degree.

“Several State System universities already have reverse transfer agreements in place with their neighboring community college. This new agreement expands the program statewide, making it available to many more students across Pennsylvania,” said Millersville University of Pennsylvania President John Anderson.

Students who began their postsecondary education at any community college in Pennsylvania and earned a minimum of 45 credits before transferring to any State System university can participate in the new program. Eligible credits may include those earned through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Credit by Exam and the military.

A student must have enrolled at a State System university within five years of leaving the community college and have earned at least 15 additional credits at a State System university to be considered for the program. Their State System credits will be transferred back to the community college and applied to the requirements for the associate’s degree.

The State System universities will identify eligible students once they complete the 60 total credits and invite them to participate in the reverse transfer program. If interested, the eligible students will fill out a release form and their State System university transcript will be sent to the community college for review and evaluation.

If approved, the community college will award the degree. Students will not be charged either a graduation or transcript fee by either institution involved.

The first degrees could be awarded through the program as early as this summer. Many students likely already are eligible. Others could be once the current semester ends in May.

“The reverse transfer agreement is particularly helpful for students called to military service,” said Jessica Shingara, a business management major at Millersville University and former student at Harrisburg Area Community College who spent five years in the U.S. Navy, where she was stationed aboard the USS John Paul Jones. “Having long breaks from school can add stress to an already stressful situation, and having this program promotes an easy transition from serving to studying.”

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of undergraduate and graduate education in the Commonwealth, with about 107,000 degree-seeking students and thousands more who are enrolled in certificate and other career-development programs. Collectively, the 14 universities that comprise the State System offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas. Nearly 520,000 State System university alumni live in Pennsylvania.

The State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. The universities also operate branch campuses in Oil City (Clarion), Freeport and Punxsutawney (IUP), and Clearfield (Lock Haven), and offer classes and programs at several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and in Center City in Philadelphia.

The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges is a voluntary membership association for Pennsylvania’s community colleges, which collectively are the largest providers of undergraduate education in the state, serving nearly 314,000 students in 2014-15. 

 Pennsylvania’s community colleges are Bucks County Community College, Butler County Community College, Community College of Allegheny County, Community College of Beaver County, Community College of Philadelphia, Delaware County Community College, HACC – Central Pennsylvania’s Community College,  Lehigh Carbon Community College, Luzerne County Community College, Montgomery County Community College, Northampton Community College, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, Reading Area Community College and Westmoreland County Community College. The colleges operate 26 campuses and 84 instructional sites and centers, serving students from every county in the Commonwealth.

 

 

 

PA Commission for Community Colleges testifies before House Appropriations Committee

On March 3, 2016, the PA Commission for Community Colleges testified before the Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee.

Our written testimony is available here.

 

Pennsylvania’s Community Colleges Applaud Proposed Increase in College Funding

For Immediate Release                                            

February 9, 2016                                                                                                                                     

Pennsylvania’s Community Colleges Applaud Proposed Increase in College Funding

HARRISBURG— The leaders of Pennsylvania’s 14 public community colleges are applauding Governor Wolf’s 2016-17 budget proposal, which recommends increased operating funds for the colleges over current levels. The additional funding will help the colleges to serve the educational and workforce needs of their communities and preserve access to higher education.

Last year, Pennsylvania’s community colleges served nearly 314,000 students from every county in Pennsylvania, and conferred 16,071 awards – 55% of them in STEM fields.

“Pennsylvania’s community colleges are key providers of higher education and workforce training in our communities. The $22.1 million increase in funding proposed by Governor Wolf would help to ensure that community college remains accessible and affordable for Pennsylvanians,” said Tom Leary, President of Luzerne County Community College and Board Chair of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. “We look forward to working together with the Wolf Administration and the General Assembly to pass a budget that includes increased funding for Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges.”

Governor Wolf’s budget recommends a total of $237.773 million in funding for community college operations. Community college capital funding is expected to remain stable. The proposed funding would begin to reverse both the effects of the dramatic cut in funding to the colleges in the 2011-12 fiscal year, and the effects of years of funding that has failed to keep pace with inflation.

“Governor Wolf’s budget proposal is a step in the right direction for community college funding,” said Elizabeth Bolden, President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. “Investing in community colleges is a valuable strategy for the Commonwealth to grow economic development, workforce training and access to a quality, affordable education in Pennsylvania.”

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The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges is a voluntary membership association for Pennsylvania’s community colleges. Its members include the college presidents, members of the colleges’ boards of trustees, and key college administrators. The Commission represents the interests of and advocates for the collective needs of the community colleges to federal and state policymakers. For more information, please visit www.pacommunitycolleges.org.

 

 

Pennsylvania Community Colleges Celebrate Community College Completion Challenge Week at Capitol

For Immediate Release                                             Media Contact:  Danielle Gross

October 19, 2015                                                        

Pennsylvania Community Colleges Celebrate Community College Completion Challenge Week at Capitol 

HARRISBURG— Pennsylvania’s Community College Caucus, together with the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges, held a joint press conference at the state Capitol building today to celebrate Pennsylvania’s first-ever “Pennsylvania Community College Completion Challenge (PAC4) Week,” observed from October 19-23, 2015.

As part of PAC4 Week, student members of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society chapters at Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges have planned more than 84 events at 23 campuses to encourage their classmates to complete their certificate or associate’s degree before leaving community college to transfer to another institution of higher learning or to enter the workforce. Administrators, faculty and staff have also been asked to sign the pledge, committing themselves to do whatever they can to facilitate completion of student credentials.

On Wednesday, October 14, Senator Bob Mensch, co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Community College Caucus, introduced a resolution recognizing the first annual Pennsylvania Community College Completion Challenge Week. The measure was adopted by the Senate unanimously.

“Pennsylvania’s community colleges are grateful for the leadership of our Community College Caucus co-chairs Senator Bob Mensch, Senator Lisa Boscola, Representative James Roebuck and Representative Jim Marshall and for the support of the Community College Caucus in spearheading awareness of this and other community college issues in the Legislature,” said Elizabeth Bolden, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges.  “When community college students complete their degree or certificate, their earnings potential grows, and they are more attractive to employers. We hope that Pennsylvania’s community college students will hear the message spread by Phi Theta Kappa chapters and commit to complete their degree or certificate.”

Studies show that students who complete an associate’s degree earn, on average, $500,000 more throughout their lifetime than those who only have a high school diploma. A recent issue paper from the Lumina Foundation showed that the benefits of degree attainment go far beyond earning power – they are also more likely to remain employed and to have a job that provides health insurance and retirement benefits. On a personal level, they are more likely to report they are in good health, more likely to vote, more likely to volunteer and donate to charitable causes, and their children are more likely to continue their education past the high school level.

PAC4 Week is made possible in part by the support of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, which launched the national Phi Theta Kappa Community College Completion Corps in 2010. Pennsylvania is among 20 states with a statewide C4 initiative.

“Phi Theta Kappa is proud to partner with the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges to promote college credential completion,” said Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, Interim Executive Director of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. “It is our hope that this week of completion events will be the start of an important conversation among students, faculty and staff, college administrators and community leaders. Our goal is to support students and educate them on the importance of completing their education in order to earn the credentials needed to build a stronger Pennsylvania workforce.”

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The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges is a voluntary membership association for Pennsylvania’s community colleges.  Its members include the college presidents, members of the colleges’ boards of trustees, and key college administrators.  The Commission represents the interests of and advocates for the collective needs of the community colleges to federal and state policymakers.  For more information, please visit www.pacommunitycolleges.org.

 

PA Community Colleges Testify Before House Subcommittee

For Immediate Release                                             Media Contact: Danielle Gross

May 28, 2015                                                           

 

PA Community Colleges Testify before House Subcommittee

on Technical Education and Career Readiness

 

READING, PA – A panel representing Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges testified before a House Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness at Reading Area Community College Thursday, sharing how the community colleges are providing Pennsylvanians with access to affordable, high-quality postsecondary workforce training that offers students several pathways to careers and is aligned with industry needs. This was the second hearing of the House Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness, which has been tasked with examining readiness surrounding career and technical education in the state.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to share some of the many success stories from Pennsylvania’s community colleges,” said Elizabeth Bolden, President/CEO of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. “Community colleges have collaborated with educational and business partners for more than 50 years to provide education and workforce training to their communities.  We support statewide policies to expand career readiness, education and technical training programs so that Pennsylvania’s workforce has the skills and training needed by employers throughout the Commonwealth.”

Joining Bolden on the panel was Dr. Doug Jensen, Vice President, Economic Development and Chief Executive Officer for the Advanced Technology Center at Westmoreland County Community College (WCCC). Jensen’s testimony included information about some of WCCC’s collaborations with employers and WCCC’s Advanced Technology Center High School Academy, which is a partnership between the 17 Westmoreland County school districts and four Career and Technology Centers in the region that provides a pathway for students to obtain highly marketable technical skills.

Dr. Karen Kozachyn, Dean, Workforce Development and Community Education at Delaware County Community College (DCCC), told the panel of DCCC’s partnership of more than 20 years with the Chester County Intermediate Unit. The college is now a partner in three Technical College High Schools in Jennersville, Brandywine, and Phoenixville, which develop career pathways for students. At the conclusion of the 2014-15 academic year, a total of 244 high school students enrolled in college course through this partnership, earning a total of 1,080 credits.

Dr. Stephen Waller, Interim Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost and Assistant Dean of Science and Mathematics at Reading Area Community College (RACC), shared information on RACC’s new partnership with Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania to allow students the opportunity to complete a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Technical Leadership from Bloomsburg University at the RACC campus. Waller also discussed the Berks County Technical Academy, which allows high school technical students to earn up to 27 college credits at a free or reduced tuition rate, as well as RACC’s engagement with Project Lead the Way, a pre-engineering program to start to build a bridge for engineering-track high school students to transition to RACC’s applied engineering programs.

Also represented at the hearing were representatives from the Pennsylvania Association of Private School Administrators (PAPSA), the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), Pennsylvania College of Technology, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF).

View testimony and handouts:

Elizabeth Bolden’s written testimony

Dr. Doug Jensen’s written testimony

WCCC handout on stacked credentials

Dr. Karen Kozachyn’s written testimony

Dr. Stephen Waller’s written testimony

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The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges is a voluntary membership association for Pennsylvania’s community colleges. Its members include the college presidents, members of the colleges’ boards of trustees, and key college administrators. The Commission represents the interests of and advocates for the collective needs of the community colleges to federal and state policymakers. For more information, please visit www.pacommunitycolleges.org.