On February 6, over 300 students representing all 16 Maryland community colleges headed to the State Capital for MACC’s annual Community College Student Advocacy Day. The students met with lawmakers and urged them to support the Governor’s Budget that increases operating and maintains capital funding for the state’s two-year colleges, whose budgets have been hit hard since the downturn of the economy. The Governor’s proposed FY 2014 operating budget includes a 7% increase in direct aid to the community colleges, which would greatly assist in keeping colleges affordable.
Watch highlights of the day (video courtesy of CCBC):
During the morning’s kick-off rally, students heard from Senate President V. Thomas “Mike” Miller, Senators Verna Jones-Rodwell, Delores Kelley, Thomas “Mac” Middleton and Richard Madaleno, and Delegates Heather Mizeur and Anthony O’Donnell. Speakers also included Dr. Guy Altieri, President of Hagerstown Community College and Chair of the Maryland Council of Community College Presidents, Dr. Rich Midcap, Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment at Chesapeake College, and MACC Executive Director Dr. Bernie Sadusky.
Pebbles Armwood, a student at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), was the featured student speaker. Watch her speech below. (video courtesy of CCBC).
The Student Advocacy message centered on the theme of Support = Success — community colleges can only help more citizens be successful if there is greater state support. Students emphasized support of the funding formula for the amount of state aid granted to each college, an increase in the state’s share of the cost of community college education, and support of capital requests at community colleges throughout the state.
While advocating for budget and legislative priorities of their colleges, students also sought to raise awareness of the important role played by Maryland’s community colleges in higher education and their benefits to the state.
Community colleges are the gateway to higher education. Half of all Maryland undergraduate students are now enrolled in the state’s community colleges. Increasing the number of students who earn degrees and other credentials is vital to the economic future of the state and nation, and both national and state leaders – beginning with President Obama and Governor O’Malley – have called the completion agenda an economic imperative.
Maryland’s community colleges are committed to addressing this challenge, and have increased associate degree credentials by 33% and workforce credentials by 38% over the past 3 years.
Please take an opportunity to meet some of the fantastic student leaders that represented the Maryland community colleges by visiting the colleges’ Student Advocacy website.