A program that’s helped thousands of Nebraskans gain access to a college education survived the most recent round of Congressional budget cuts and debate on extending the debt ceiling.
Southeast Community College President Jack Huck says Congress left Pell Grant funding at the current level, but the danger of cuts isn’t over.
“As you well know, Congress is not done considering what kinds of budget reductions will be a part of the future,” Huck says. He notes lawmakers are facing a couple of deadlines which, if they’re missed, certain budget cuts become automatic.
Huck fears key federal educational funding may still be slashed.
“I would certainly say to you Pell grants are not safe in their entirely yet,” he says, “but I think they’re safe for the moment.”
Huck says S-C-C students accessed a total of $16.8 million in Pell grant funding this past year.
He says, “When Congress was talking about cuts, the ones they did not make, the discussions that were going on were up to 30% reduction level.”
Huck says such a cut would mean a loss of scholarship support of more than five-million dollars at S-C-C.
Final audited enrollment at Southeast Community College for the past academic year, shows the school with a full-time equivalent total of 10,556 students, up 2.14% from the previous year. That meant an increase of 221 full-time students.
That figure places SCC fourth among the six Nebraska community colleges for enrollment growth, for the year ending June 30th. Central Community College of Hastings had the largest enrollment increase, of 4.06%. Next in line was Metro of Omaha with a 3.52% gain, and Northeast Community College of Norfolk with an increase of 3.41%.
Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice