BUTLER TWP — Butler County Community College President Nick Neupauer said he was pleased to be on a state panel examining how to make post-secondary education more affordable and accessible, and hopes its recommendations to Gov. Tom Corbett will be beneficial.
The 31-member panel spent nine months studying ways to improve higher education in Pennsylvania and attempting to devise a state funding formula that rewards schools for meeting those goals.
Neupauer told the BC3 trustees on Wednesday that several recommendations could have a significant impact on the college. Those include cost-saving measures such as consolidation of programs or institutions, tuition containment, enhanced military veteran outreach and more flexibility in Education Improvement Tax Credit spending.
The college this year collected $96,500 in those tax credit contributions from businesses, paid in lieu of some state taxes, through the EITC program, but that money can only go to BC3’s College Within the High School program.
The panel’s funding recommendation calls for state higher education appropriations next year to equal funding this year, but based on performance goals. Neupauer said educational institutions, as part of the recommendation, would have some input into what their goals and indicators of success might be.
Today BC3 trustees and officials will learn the results of two feasibility studies ordered by the college, one determining whether a major fundraising campaign is possible and the other examining if building student housing on the main campus is worthwhile.
Neupauer said the fundraising campaign study looked at whether there is sufficient support in the community for BC3 to make the campaign worthwhile.
He noted that since Ruth Purcell became the director of the BC3 Education Foundation, the college’s fundraising branch, about three years ago, annual giving has increased by 77 percent.
Also, BC3 announced its tentative board of trustees meetings for 2013. They are: Jan. 16, Feb. 20, March 20, April 17, May 15 and June 19. The board does not meet in February, July, August or November.