NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Leaders at CFCC know that the state's new plan for funding community colleges will mean a $1.3 million decrease in funding from last year to now, but they're still crunching the numbers to find out what programs will be affected.
It's too soon to tell, according to Cape Fear Community College spokesman David Hardin.
The details are still being determined, but Hardin said there are general expectations of what will happen because of the drop in dollars. He said the college won't be able to hire new instructors, add new classes or even buy new materials for existing classes and labs.
There is a high demand for classes like arts and sciences that are required by students in both the college and technical tracks, according to Hardin. He said the inability to add classes could create slower graduation times for students waiting to take all of their required classes.
Jonathan Reed, a second-year student, is expected to graduate this year. He said missing a biology class this semester would have thrown his career plan completely out of whack.
"If you get knocked by a semester, that's not a semester" he said. "That could be a year."
Reed said he's enjoyed his time at CFCC and would like to see the campus and classes grow.
Haley Grant, a nursing assistant student, said she's worried about any negative effects the reduced state support could have on her program.
"How are we supposed to help our future?" she asked.
The change in state support comes from a tweak to the funding formula that's based on enrollment, which includes all students taking 16 credit hours or more in a semester.
Instead of taking the previous year's number or an average of the last three years, the state considers the average of the last two years.
Legislators said the change is about using funds more efficiently for a system with more than 800,000 students enrolled annually for at least one class. Earlier in the year, the state cut waivers for senior citizens interested in taking a class or two.
The funding formula is not the only change coming to community colleges across the state. Hardin said they are now required to cover the cost of unemployment insurance.
For CFCC, that's a new $188,000 expense this year.
Stay with us as we work to bring you the effects these changes have on other community colleges around the Cape Fear region.
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