Chancellor pays visit to PDCCC

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 5, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Paul D. Camp Community College’s presence in Suffolk will grow to reflect the ever-changing needs of the state’s fastest-growing city.

That’s the message that Glenn DuBois, chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, imparted to about 40 city, business and college representatives during his brief visit Thursday to the college’s Oliver K. Hobbs campus.


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&uot;I am confident this beautiful campus will expand,&uot; said DuBois, who has visited every community college campus in Virginia at least once since taking over the system’s helm two years ago.

&uot;These are extraordinary times for the city and college,&uot; he said. &uot;We want to partner with the city to meet its unmet needs.

&uot;…The idea is not that the college play a critical role in the city but that it play an indispensable role for the city of Suffolk.&uot;

The community college system has a dual mission: To provide economic opportunity for Virginians and economic development opportunities for localities, DuBois said.

The community college system has fared better than public colleges and universities during the state’s recent budget crunch, he said. Although tuition was raised to cover the cuts, Virginia still provides one of the most affordable community college educations in the country.

Only six states charges less for tuition than Virginia, making community colleges an increasing popular option for students. Approximately 10,000 of 12,000 new students who enrolled in Virginia’s colleges and universities last year attended community colleges, Dubois said.

That figures will continue to climb as tuition rises at four-year school, he added. Tuition at public universities is already about three times higher than that at a community college.

Community colleges will also begin aggressively tapping private funding sources, DuBois said. He anticipates that college foundations will be able to generate 4 percent of the its operating budget by 2009.

&uot;Many state four-year universities figured this out 30 years ago,&uot; DuBois said. Private funding accounts for 15-20 percent of operating budgets at some of Virginia’s public colleges, he added.

The business community has become increasingly willing to invest in the system. Many companies realize that community colleges play a vital role in providing them with a future workforce, DuBois said.

This is particularly true in the state’s manufacturing sector, which stands to lose 100,000 technical workers through retirement by 2008, he said.

&uot;When they (these manufacturers) look down the pipeline, they don’t see 100,000 new workers ready to be hired,&uot; DuBois said.