The federal Build Back Better bill could provide increased funding for higher education and workforce training programs, as well as competitive grants focused on retention and completion, the president said. Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College.
“I think even with the lite version, it’s still an opportunity for higher education, especially community colleges and institutions serving minorities like us, to get additional funding as part of the Build Back Better plan. “Dr. Walt Tobin said on Nov. 9.
Tobin discussed the Build Back Better bill with the Octech Area Commission, explaining that he was part of a small rural college commission that is part of the American Association of Community Colleges.
Tobin shared some highlights from a recent meeting held before the $ 2.2 trillion Build Back Better bill passed through the House. The plan will now be considered by the Senate.
Tobin said the bill spent around $ 40 billion on higher education and workforce training programs, and increased the maximum Pell grant by $ 550 for four years, academic years. 2022-23 to 2025-2026.
The bill also eliminates the taxation of Pell Grants, as well as the provision that reduced a student’s US Opportunity Tax Credit from any amount of Pell Grant received.
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This latest change would allow hundreds of thousands of community college students to qualify for the $ 2,500 tax credit.
The bill also provides $ 4.9 billion for competitive grants to create and expand workforce training programs at community colleges and other post-secondary vocational training institutions working with a partnership with the industrial sector.
The US Department of Education also has $ 500 million to provide grants to improve student outcomes, including enrollment, retention and completion, as well as $ 6 billion to increase credits. compulsory for HBCUs and other institutions serving minorities.
Tobin also reported that there was $ 700 million available until fiscal 2026 for the US Department of Education’s Adult Education and Family Literacy program. The bill also provides $ 600 million for the Perkins CTE (Career and Technical Education) Basic State Grants and $ 100 million for the Perkins Act Innovation and Modernization Grants program.
The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, or Perkins Act, is the primary source of federal funding for CTE programs.
Tobin said the AACC Small Rural Colleges Commission has also discussed the importance of competitive sports for small rural colleges, but the idea of bringing competitive sports to OCtech has “failed. was greeted with much fanfare “by its staff.
“None of them seemed really interested, but it’s something I think I’m ready to explore… to see if it’s worth it here.” It certainly wouldn’t be football, but maybe sports that aren’t as expensive to run (and) would definitely give our students the opportunity to play varsity athletics competitions if they so choose ”, Tobin said.
In other areas, the chairman reported that the OCtech Foundation has endorsed Bob Sabalis, a long-time board member, as chairman of the board and Dr John Ansley, a local ENT specialist. , as vice-president.
Three new board members include Pam Hughes, retired OCTech Faculty of Nursing; Marcus Johnson, owner of the Orangeburg Nissan dealership; and Todd McElhone, president of Pioneer Farm Equipment in Orangeburg.
“We are really excited about the arrival of these two leaders and the addition of the three founding board members,” said Tobin.
The president also said the college will hold two graduation ceremonies on Tuesday, December 14. A ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. and another at 5 p.m., with more details to come later.
Tobin said the college’s next signing day for youth apprenticeship will be at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, November 30.
“We have seven young apprentices who will be employed in the Orangeburg area, hopefully starting in the spring, one of whom will be employed with us in the business affairs division,” said the president.
“We believe this is a good opportunity for our employers, but also for our students to gain on-the-job learning experience as part of their time with us,” he said.
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