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Maine Community College System

News Release

With enrollment up 36% in two years, trustees seek $5.1 million to "continue momentum"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2004
CONTACT: Alice Kirkpatrick
Tel: (207) 767-0116, ext. 3

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — At a board meeting at Northern Maine Community College this morning, trustees of the Maine Community College System (MCCS) approved a base budget request of $5.1 million over the next two years — a six percent increase each year — to continue the momentum of the colleges first two years as full-fledged community colleges.(SEE BUDGET REQUEST DETAILS BELOW)

In presenting his budget recommendation to trustees, MCCS President John Fitzsimmons briefed the board on the early successes of the Community College System. "In just two years with our new name and expanded mission, credit enrollment is up 21 percent, the number of degree students has jumped 36 percent, and the number of high school graduates entering our colleges has jumped 41 percent," he said. (See the MCCS Progress Report)

"The Community Colleges are doing just what we had envisioned — making college possible for people who were unsure about college, or who didn't have the right option available to them," Fitzsimmons said. He added, "With the jump in students entering directly from high school, the Community Colleges are playing a crucial role in moving Maine toward Governor Baldacci's goal of 70 percent going on to college."

Joanna Jones, Chair of the MCCS Board of Trustees, said, "The Community College story is a great success story for Maine — and despite challenging budget times for the State — now is not the time to retreat." She added, "We launched this system with a very small State investment, and we have pushed the colleges hard to fulfill their new role in Maine. Additional funding is critical if we are to continue our progress, and assure that access and quality are preserved."

In just three years, degree enrollment has grown 58 percent, while State funding is up only three percent, Fitzsimmons said. The 58 percent enrollment jump represents nearly 3,700 additional students seeking college degrees.

Fitzsimmons lauded the work of faculty and staff, and the leadership of the college presidents. "This is all good news for Maine, and it's due to the incredible commitment and hard work of our presidents and our employees. Thanks to them, we are on the way to making real gains in college participation and changing Maine's future," said Fitzsimmons.

At President Fitzsimmons' recommendation, trustees approved a "current services" budget request of $43,960,000 for Fiscal Year (FY) 2006, an increase of $2,488,000 over the System's FY 05 budget. The System is requesting $46,598,000 in FY 2007 — an increase of $2,638,000 over FY 06. In addition, trustees approved an "expanded services" request of $2.75 million ($1,350,000 in FY 06 and $1,404,000 in FY 07) for improvements in accommodations for students with disabilities, health and safety initiatives, and expanded student support services.

Retail Lumber Dealers Create Scholarships

Also at the meeting, Brian Thayer, Vice Chair of the MCCS Board of Trustees and President of LaValley Lumber in Sanford, was joined by Gregg Collins, Vice President of S.W. Collins Lumber in Presque Isle to present a new scholarship program funded by the Retail Lumber Dealers Association of Maine. The Association is funding four $1,000 scholarships this year and next, for students pursuing careers in the construction field.

Collins presented one of the four scholarships to NMCC student Andrew Susee of Woodland. Susee is enrolled in the college's Residential Construction program. Also receiving scholarships are: Aisling M. McGuire of Farmington, a student at Central Maine Community College; Katherine J. Cummings of Bangor, a student at Eastern Maine Community College; and Lucas Henderson of Augusta, a student at Southern Maine Community College.

FY06/FY07 Biennial Budget Request

Current Services
current appropriation
+$2,488,000 (+6%)
+$2,638,000 (+6%)
Total Part I Request: $5,126,000
New and Expanded Services
FY06 FY07
ADA and Health & Safety $350,000 $364,000
Expanded Student Support Services $1,000,000 $1,040,000
$1,350,000 $1,404,000
Total Part II Request: $2,754,000

(This release has been updated with final enrollment numbers)