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Mississippi community colleges seek 39 percent increase in state funding

Picayune Item
About 100 community college students, teachers and administrators gathered at the state Capitol on Tuesday to ask Mississippi legislators for more money to meet the needs of a student population that has grown as the economy has struggled.

Wearing green t-shirts that played off the “Survivor” TV show logo, students enrolled in some of the state’s 15 community colleges stood on the steps of the second floor rotunda as administrators made the case for a 39 percent funding increase.

Eric Clark, executive director of the state Board of Community and Junior Colleges, said community colleges need funding now more than ever.

“After the recession our enrollment skyrocketed and our budgets were cut,” Clark said. “We need the Legislature to make community colleges a priority.”

Enrollment in Mississippi Community Colleges rose 23 percent between 2007 and 2009, according to the board.

The lack of funding has led to bigger classes and more part-time faculty members, plus delays in repairs and renovations on buildings, Clark said
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