NCC President Testifies in Harrisburg to Gain Support for Community Colleges

An appeal for much-needed funding

Dr. Mark Erickson, president of Northampton Community College (NCC) and vice chair of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges, testified in Harrisburg in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee on March 3.

For 2020-21, PA community colleges requested a $12M increase in the community college operating appropriation. This increase will provide the funds for the colleges to continue to offer affordable, high-quality academic and workforce programs aligned with state and local workforce needs.

Governor Wolf’s latest budget proposal included no new funding for Pennsylvania’s community colleges.

Dr. Erickson’s testimony highlighted the need for funding community colleges, the largest provider of public postsecondary education in the state, with nearly 300,000 students across all 67 Pennsylvania counties enrolled in one of the 14 community colleges in the last academic year.

“Community colleges provide Pennsylvanians with the critical set of education and employment skills to enter the workforce. Failure to appropriately support these colleges limits their ability to develop new and affordable programs aligned with the Commonwealth’s workforce needs,” Dr. Erickson told the committee.  “The requested funds will help the colleges expand existing and develop new career pathways for students, in order to ensure they have access to high-quality education, training, and other services that prepare them to be successful in future postsecondary education opportunities or careers.

The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges (PACCC) is a nonprofit, volunteer membership association and the primary advocate for Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges. The organization is mobilizing support to remind lawmakers that Pennsylvania needs it community colleges.

“We are concerned and disappointed that the 2020-21 fiscal year budget proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf does not provide an operating or capital funding increase for community colleges, failing to support our nearly 300,000 students and the communities we economically enhance,” said PACCC President & CEO Elizabeth Bolden on behalf of leaders from Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges. “The Commonwealth has a goal of increasing the number of Pennsylvanians with a postsecondary credential to 60 percent by 2025 and Gov. Wolf has put a particular emphasis on boosting workforce development programs in the coming year.

“Community colleges are ready and willing to assist the Commonwealth in meeting these goals,” she continued. “We hope the General Assembly recognizes the invaluable educational and training programs our institutions provide and include a much-needed increase for community colleges in the 2020-21 fiscal year budget.”

To voice your support for quality, affordable higher education in PA, take a moment to complete this quick form found on the PACCC website. It will let your elected officials know that you support quality, affordable higher education in Pennsylvania.