PITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), alongside other state institutions, is taking several steps to address a proposed reduction in higher education funding in Governor Tom Corbett’s 2011–2012 budget.
CCAC President Alex Johnson has been asked to appear with several of his counterparts before the Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee on March 30 to seek legislative support for restoring funding to community colleges. In addition, he and other college leaders, both individually and as members of the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education, will continue to be in communication with members of Allegheny County’s legislative delegation.
CCAC will send students to the Capitol on April 5 with students from other Pennsylvania community colleges to speak with legislators about the importance of community college education. Students and employees have also been encouraged to write legislators to voice their continued support of higher education and two-year institutions in particular.
The governor’s proposed budget reduces statewide community college operating funds by 10 percent, including approximately $21.5 million in federal stimulus funding that was used to backfill a cut in operating funding made two years ago by then-Governor Ed Rendell. The stimulus funding will expire this year, and the current budget includes an additional $2 million cut.
At CCAC, the 10 percent reduction would mean a loss of about $3.5 million of the college’s $116 million annual operating budget.
“Although these proposed cuts are only part of a broader reduction in education funding, including even larger cuts in other higher education sectors, they could still be harmful to our students and, ultimately, the economic viability of the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Johnson. CCAC enrolls approximately 65,000 students each year.
The CCAC Board of Trustees anticipates voting on a college budget at its April or May meeting.
“Our budget unfortunately must consider the possibility of the cuts in the governor’s budget,” said Dr. Johnson. “It is the commitment of both my administration and the Board of Trustees that we do everything possible to keep a CCAC education affordable and not counter the progress being made in promoting student success.”
The Community College of Allegheny County is the largest institution of postsecondary higher education in Pennsylvania. The college serves 30,000 credit students through 170 degree and certificate programs and offers thousands of lifelong learning non-credit and workforce development courses to 35,000 students annually. Incorporating a learning-centered environment committed to the future of the region, CCAC continues to expand its reach through innovative programming and accessible instruction offered via convenient day, evening, weekend and online courses. With four campuses and six centers serving Allegheny County and surrounding communities, CCAC endeavors to fulfill its mission to provide affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse and supportive learning environment that prepares the region’s residents for academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society.