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Budget bite: Funding cuts stretch N.C. community colleges beyond capacity (access required)

By Sam Boykin When Steve Seger was laid off from his job with a Charlotte cabinetmaker in September, he decided to leave behind the struggling construction industry and pursue a career in nursing. But his newfound career path hit a snag when he enrolled for the spring semester at Charlotte’s Central Piedmont Community College and some of the core classes he needed in biology and math were already full. “If you don’t have enough credit hours, you don’t get priority registration,” said Seger, 40.  “I went to see my advisor, and the next day I went to register and could only get three of the classes I needed.” It’s a story that’s being repeated throughout the state. North Carolina community colleges have experienced explosive enrollment growth since the recession hit in 2008. Classrooms are filling up with people who have been laid off or just want to continue their education or brush up on their job skills rather than face the grim job market. Yet even as these institutions face skyrocketing demand, their budgets are being slashed and their resources stretched beyond capacity.

One comment

  1. Good article. Glad someone has focused on a real problem in the state’s very important community college system. That said, it’s also way beyond time for these individual fiefdoms to stop wringing their collective hands and take some action. It seems most everyone today has to do more with less. Let’s move forward and come up w/some solutions and turning away students isn’t one of them. Cutting expensive salaries of administrators might be a good place to start. Administrators need to really understand that their mission is to serve the public not themselves! Lobby politicians, work w/facility and students and solicit input. Whatever is done must be done system wide and not just be one school. And I know there are rules on what can and cant’ be done. Think outside the box. We have all these educated folks running these schools let’s see some ingenuity. Our workforce needs to be retooled to tackle the challenges of today and beyond, and community colleges are a critical instrument in that process. Remember, the word community before college. The community of North Carolina very much needs these schools and needs their leadership to address and solve these challenges.

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