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Study shows less federal funding for community colleges - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Study shows less federal funding for community colleges

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

A new report by the Century Foundation shows a growing divide between community colleges and public universities, leaving the most disadvantaged students at risk.

The report also details how the community college student population is growing in the number of students from the lowest two socioeconomic quartiles, meaning they are enrolling poorer people.

North Carolina is third in the nation for the size of its community college system with 1-in-9 North Carolinians enrolling in 2010-2011.  Community colleges are feeling the trend all across eastern North Carolina.

At Pitt Community College, Dr. Donald Spell, Vice President of Student Development, says they've seen a 20 percent cut in federal funding as opposed to universities which only saw a 10 percent.

Spell says colleges are asked to assist the most disadvantaged students with the least amount of funding.

"Everybody, essentially after the recession hit, were looking to community colleges to be the savior - to train America to get back to work," said Spell.

Joanne Ceres, Director of Student Enrollment, says the lack of federal funding hits Pell Grants.  She says she's seeing more regulation and caps on the grants.

"It's almost as if people assume that, despite everything, you're going to get the job done - which we do - but there comes a limit," said Ceres.

Pell Grant recipient and Pitt Community College SGA President, La'Quon Rogers, worries his only way to college is slowly being pulled out from under him.

"I look at it almost like double-dutch. You see one rope and that's 'Education! You need to get an education' but then there's this individual rope that comes to hit you from behind that says 'We're not going to invest in you," said Rogers.

Governor McCory's proposed state budget does including additional money for education.  Universities will receive $2.5 billion while community colleges receive less than half that at only $1 billion.

McCrory says it's not how much, but how we spend that money.

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