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Politics & Government

Joint Finance Committee hears considerably slimmed down higher ed funding requests

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Delaware Public Media
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Higher education was the focus of today’s Joint Finance Committee hearings. 

 

With the pandemic creating revenue uncertainty, Delaware’s public college and universities were urged not to seek additional money for their general funds beyond scholarships and door-openers.

 

But the pandemic has created some opportunities. UD Provost Robin Morgan, says its Early College Credit Program got a jump start from online learning.

 

“What happened was the high schools were gearing up to go virtual and so quite a few of them applied and wanted to do it," Martin said. "And we just said yes to everyone that wanted. We stretched ourselves a bit but they're readiness to do something virtual and to work with us was something we would not turn away from.”

 

The university is also restructuring its Associate in Arts program, focusing on creating more services and pathways to 4-year degrees.

 

UD isn’t asking for any extra funding for 2022, except for about $1 million for scholarships to support UD students.

 

UD President Dennis Assanis says the long term effects on the university from the pandemic could last through 2025.

 

Lawmakers praised the university's shift from last year, State Sen. Trey Paradee (D-Dover) says it’s nice to see UD focused on improving diversity and taking JFC’s other considerations into account.

 

Del Tech President Mark Barinard adds without the state's Budget Stabilization Fund - which helped maintain funding levels last year during the pandemic, Delaware’s institutions of higher education universities would be in a much worse place than they are now.

 

With that in mind, Delaware Technical Community College and Delaware State University discussed second chance pell grants to help people pursuing education while in prison.

 

Del Tech is already working in the state’s prison system and DSU President Tony Allen says his university plans to do the same

 

“We were significant drivers in the advocacy position taken at the federal level to actually get that deal done,” said Allen.

 

DSU is also asking for money to expand programs, such as nursing, public health and social work, but most of those requests were not in Gov. Carney’s budget plan. 

 

Del Tech wants funding for salary increases to remain competitive with other community colleges, and permanent funding for the Career Pathways program, which supports Delaware’s K-12 schools and encourages students to earn their degree in the First State.

 

This article has been updated to correct a name.

 

Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

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