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Report: N.C. community colleges key to state's changing economy

Posted May 15, 2008

— For several years, North Carolina has been transitioning from an economy of tobacco, textiles and furniture toward a new economy of pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and biotechnology.

According to a study released Thursday, community colleges are key to navigating the transition, but they lack a lot of what they need to do it.

The report, “Facing Brutal Facts” by the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, states that the community college system has several areas that need to be fixed.

The first is helping non-traditional students succeed.

"The completion rate is about 48 to 53 percent, depending on the year, and a lot of the reason is the students aren't typical college students who are 18 to 22, living in a dorm and parents are paying. They are non traditional, working, caring for children,” said Ran Coble of the Center for Public Policy Research.

The report also indicated that funding from the General Assembly is a problem.

"Fix the funding formula, which is based on last year's enrollment. (The) problem is when the economy goes down enrollment in community colleges goes up, so we need a funding formula to fit enrollment that's there in their doors,” Coble said.

Coble says the next step is educating the public on why community colleges are so important and taking this information to decision makers, such as the governor and members of the state legislature, who can make changes.


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  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx May 15, 2008

    "I go to Wake Tech and the selection of night classes is pretty pathetic, they're usually only offered on their main campus as well."

    I went to Wake Tech years ago and I had to quit for that very reason - the evening classes were few and far between and were only offered on the main campus. I'm sorry to see that it hasn't changed much.

    Some years later I enrolled in Durham Tech which is a VERY good school. I was in the university transfer program and they guarantee that if you complete that degree you can transfer into any of the UNC universities. I transferred to a 4-year university and since then got my bachelor's degree. It's a very good way to complete the basic courses for less money.

    However, even though the community colleges are "dirt cheap", it's still tough if you're unemployed, in a low paying job or raising kids. I think more financial aid should be available for community colleges. At the moment you practically have to be living in a gutter to qualify.

  • 1 of the original Americans May 15, 2008


    Yesterday the big story was kick out the illegals -THAT PAY OUT OF STATE TUITION and today you are screaming we need funding!!

  • 1 of the original Americans May 15, 2008


    yesterday the big story was kick out the illegals-

  • coolwill May 15, 2008

    if we need more help we as a state should put in a request for work visa from other countries other than Mexico. stop the madness.

  • dohicky May 15, 2008

    Yes, economy gets bad and people go back to school when they lose their job. I know some that did that just because they could get it paid for and keep drawing unemployment. What makes our representatives think they can ask taxpayers to pay more for this education when there are more people out of work or making less because of the cost of living! Guess it is because they can.

  • Sarge May 15, 2008

    and I would like to add that I don't like "free" CC. Students need to be held accountable and what better way then with your own money. Help yes, free no-way!

  • Sarge May 15, 2008

    Where is Golden Leaf? They should have been funneling funds into this program for years.

  • lfdx3 May 15, 2008

    Animal Lover I understand your point However, for those of us in a rural area, Comm coll is the most obvious choice to begin with. We all can't afford the big university prices like you and don't have 2+ hours to travel a night for class. NC is dealing with a teacher shortage...work within the CC system and do whatever to make school more accessible to everyone. If I need a class online from another school I still have to drive to that school to enroll. Utilize the resources available and work together, that's all I'm saying.

  • whatelseisnew May 15, 2008

    Funding problem is easy to fix. Everyone pays the full price. Then it does not matter how many folks roll through the door. They should do this at the Universities as well. Then if you want to assist folks with the cost you do it through tuition tax credits. That way the folks that go, pay and those same folks can obtain the tuition tax credits to ease the cost.

  • CestLaVie May 15, 2008

    Hey Redneck_Bob: WRAL is located in Wake County, so they naturally gravitate to Wake Tech for their stories & information!! Why would they go to Cumberland Tech or Mecklenburg Tech, unless it was for some different focus??