Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges Holds Press Conference at State Capitol

The Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) will hold a press conference on Wednesday, March 7 at 10:00 a.m. at the Mississippi State Capitol, addressing the significant budget cuts that Mississippi’s community colleges have suffered over the past three years. MACJC’s goal is to restore fair and equitable funding to community colleges and raise awareness of the impact such lack of government support has had on Mississippi’s economic and workforce development initiatives.

Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges Holds Press Conference at State Capitol

Community Colleges Campaign to Restore Rightful Funding

Media Contact: Chrissy Sanders | chrissy@cirlot.com | 601-664-2010 |Fill The Gap campaign

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Tue Feb 27, 2018

JACKSON, Miss. (February 27, 2018) – The Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) will hold a press conference on Wednesday, March 7 at 10:00 a.m. at the Mississippi State Capitol, addressing the significant budget cuts that Mississippi’s community colleges have suffered over the past three years. MACJC’s goal is to restore fair and equitable funding to community colleges and raise awareness of the impact such lack of government support has had on Mississippi’s economic and workforce development initiatives.

Mississippi Community Colleges exceed the national average for college completion, ranking #1 in the nation in 2015. This proud accreditation, however, has slipped dramatically over the past three years, due to consistent budget cuts by the Legislature. To date, the state’s community colleges have been coping with $1.2 million in funding cuts, leading to a 13% average increase in community college tuition. “What we are now facing is an unprepared workforce, especially in the area of middle-skilled jobs, which make up the largest percentage of Mississippi’s labor market,” said Dr. Jesse Smith, President of Jones County Junior College. “Essentially, middle class Mississippians are being pushed out, and we are requesting restoration in our budget so that a day-to-day crisis, like a flat tire, doesn’t have to ruin a potential college student’s plans to graduate and contribute to our State.”

Mississippi community colleges educated nearly 100,000 skilled workers last year, aiming to fill the middle-skills job gap. Offering affordable education at the best value, the colleges also provide options that most 4-year universities do not, such as parenting and family courses for students struggling to balance home life, time-management, and academics, as well as remedial courses for students seeking to increase their GPAs. Yet, as a result of the steadily decreasing budget for each of the 15 schools, faculty members have not seen a pay raise in nine years, and the institutions are struggling to continue to provide their programs.

“Approximately half of the elected House and 16 of the 50 elected Senate attended a community or junior college. We don’t want the world, we just want their support by giving us back what was cut,” said Dr. Smith. “For every 1 dollar that the State puts into its community colleges, it receives nearly $5 in revenue; and with such a promising return-on-investment, it is shameful that our institutions have been continuously ignored. We are encouraging all Mississippians to support our efforts to bring about sure, positive change, before the future of Mississippi’s children disappears.”

MACJC has set up a website allowing the general public easy access to contact their state legislators to support community colleges: http://fillthegap.ms.

 

About MACJC:

The Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges’ membership is represented by the President of each of the 15 autonomous colleges which comprise the Community and Junior Colleges in the State of Mississippi. The Community College Board is a coordinating state agency for state funds and state policies that apply to the colleges that comprise the MACJC. Each college is governed solely by its local Board of Trustees.