State cuts ax GCC dual enrollment

July 14, 2010

Full-time spots for some high-schoolers remain

Greenfield Community College has no money this year to help high school students who want to take a course or two at the community college, because the state has axed that funding in this year’s budget. GCC President Robert Pura said the community college works with many high schools in Franklin and Hampshire counties to offer college courses to high school students.

Last year, the community college received around $24,000 from the state to help students from area schools take courses at GCC while still enrolled in their home school.

This year, however, the governor’s approved budget includes no money to help area students pay for these courses. “Obviously, it is a disappointment that the state is not able to afford the dual enrollment program,” said Pura. “It is another indication how this economic environment is undermining opportunities at GCC.”

He said the dual enrollment program allows some students to take courses that earn credits toward high school graduation requirements, as well as toward a college degree or certificate.

However, GCC also has three programs that enroll high school students from Greenfield, Turners Falls and Amherst full-time at the community college.

Pura said Amherst has had to cut their program completely because of budget constraints. So, GCC and the Amherst-Pelham School District have made a commitment to fund the four students who were already in the program.

He said Greenfield and Turners Falls will be able to offer this program to 20 new students this fall. He said Greenfield’s funding comes from a community block grant. He said GCC pays for the Turners Falls students through a scholarship program, known as the Community Access School Fund, where anonymous people make donations to sustain the program.

Pura said there were a total of 123 dual enrollment students, including the students at the three high schools, last fall. In the spring, there were 126 students.

Dual enrollment students pay the same price as other students on campus. With the recentlyapproved fee increase, it will cost a full-time 12-credit student $2,155 this fall.

GCC also has three programs that enroll high school students from Greenfield, Turners Falls and Amherst full-time at the community college.

By MACKENZIE ISSLER, Recorder Staff