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Wake Tech tells lawmakers money needed to keep up with demand

Posted March 7, 2012

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— Wake Technical Community College leaders told lawmakers Wednesday that they are concerned about a lack of state funding when demand for classes is at record levels.

About 1,000 students apply to Wake Tech's nursing program every semester, for example, but the school can't accommodate more than 275. President Stephen Scott said the college wants to expand the nursing program because it can't turn out nurses fast enough to keep up with demand on the local job market.

"Money's tight, but our students can get jobs with the training they can obtain here at Wake Tech. Consequently, that's money really well spent," Scott said. "We need resources. We need buildings and faculty and equipment, and all of that equates to dollars."

Other Wake Tech programs, such as electronics, construction and heating and air conditioning service, also are popular with applicants, he said, noting the college wait-listed 12,000 students last year. The recession has sent enrollment skyrocketing, as people try to pick up new skills to make them more qualified for jobs, he said.

"If you multiply that by what they could be making versus being unemployed, you're talking about $400,000 or $500,000 in income that could be earned in Wake County," he said.

State lawmakers cut community college spending by 11 percent last year to help erase a budget deficit. They said spending likely won't be going up this year.

Wake Tech nursing students Funding squeeze means Wake Tech puts thousands on waiting lists

"We try to do what we can, but it's a situation where you don't want to rob Peter to pay Paul," said Rep. Bryan Holloway, vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. "Could we put the money into the (community college) program? Yes, but where will that money come from?"

One place lawmakers could look for more money is tuition.

North Carolina's in-state tuition is low compared with nearby states, but colleges have raised tuition by 20 percent in recent years, and officials said they're not likely to tap students for more money this year.

Holloway, R-Stokes, said he is looking to secure more funding for colleges next year.

Christina Jackson, who is trying to get into Wake Tech's nursing program, said she hopes Holloway and other lawmakers find some money for the school.

"I just want to get in there and start working," Jackson said.

6 Comments

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  • mschore Mar 9, 5:20 p.m.

    @superman--it is ignorant comments like yours that makes this country what it is, a once great country in decline. You don't realize that by educating people we make the ENTIRE society better. You need to lay off the Faux News and Rushbo and get some real facts. People like you are destroying this country.

  • superman Mar 8, 9:58 a.m.

    Education should be like toll roads. People who go to school or use the roads should be the ones who bear the cost. How about all that money that is spent and then a person quits and never finishes the program! "Jason" yea they do have state funding but you have any idea where the state gets their money? Public education is no different than being on public welfare--somone is paying-- ABout 80% of our tax dollars go to support people on public welfare education for which most of the taxpayers do not benefit. Couples who have children and cant afford to feed and educate them should get a dog or cat and please keep your hand out of my pocket.

  • jason19 Mar 8, 8:50 a.m.

    "Tuition should fund the operation of the CC system.."--beckerunc

    Terrible idea. If you want tuition that is as high as our UNC system, then yeah, that is a great idea. The only reason that tuition is even reasonable right now is that we have state funding.

  • jurydoc Mar 8, 8:30 a.m.

    Well, some money could come from the money Republicans spent drawing the new redistricting maps. It's a start. Wonder which "Peter" they robbed to pay that "Paul."

  • beckerunc Mar 7, 7:47 p.m.

    Tuition should fund the operation of the CC system..

  • timexliving Mar 7, 7:10 p.m.

    The legislature needs to find a way to provide more funds for all degree programs with the exception of ARTS, HUMANITIES, & SOCIAL SCIENCES. The only thing you can do with these degrees is get a job asking, "paper or plastic?" and "would you like to supersize that?"