A Student Publication of Lorain County Community College

Biomimicry transfer technology center opens on campus

LCCC President Dr. Roy Church and GL Bio founder CEO Tom Tyrell announced the opening of the first biomimicry technology center for a community college to promote innovation development in Northeast Ohio on Feb. 25.        
Alex Delaney-Gesing| The Collegian

  Alex Delaney-Gesing Editor-in-Chief Biomimicry studies nature’s best ideas and imitates those ideas to solve human problems. It has the ultimate goal of creating new ways of living that are well-suited to life on earth over an extended period of time….

From the frontline to the classroom

LCCC student veterans like Tom Blackburn, a Navy veteran,  benefit from the use of the Veterans and Military Service Center located on the second floor of the campus’ College Center. 
Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

Alex Delaney-Gesing Editor-in-Chief Transitioning back into civilian life can be a shocking and disorienting adjustment for veterans and returning soldiers fresh off the battlefield. Tom Blackburn, a ten-year Navy veteran, enrolled at Lorain County Community College last year in order…

Catalytic converters stolen on campus

Suspect vehicle 
Submitted by LCCC Campus Security

Alex Delaney-Gesing Editor-in-Chief Three vehicles were reported to have had their catalytic converters stolen on Lorain County Community College’s campus on Feb. 23. Two of the thefts took place in parking lot eight, while the third incident occurred in parking…

Shock of war on the homefront

Alex Delaney-Gesing Editor-in-Chief   When ‘‘G.I. Joe’’ arrived home after time in the service, his transition back into civilian life was haunted by nightmares and flashbacks of  the inescapable vivid images he witnessed in the Iraq War. As the symptoms…

High time for legalization?

Kristin Hohman Staff Writer Lorain County Community College students, faculty, and staff may have the opportunity to vote to legalize marijuana across the state of Ohio later this year. “I think marijuana should be legalized in Ohio for those that…

Snow bounds onto campus

LCCC was blanketed by snow after Feb. 2 snowstorm that closed campus.  
Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

Alex Delaney-Gesing & John Goold It seems as if Punxsutawney Phil and Mother Nature were on the same page when welcoming in the month of February with a white blanket covering the northern parts of Ohio. In Lorain County, an…

Board votes to increase tuition

Alex Delaney-Gesing Editor-in-Chief Lorain County Community College’s District  Board of Trustees ruled in favor of raising the tuition rate for students on Jan. 22. Set to take effect beginning the start of the 2015 summer semester, this change comes as…

Snow bounds onto campus

LCCC was blanketed by snow after Feb. 2 snowstorm that closed campus.   Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

LCCC was blanketed by snow after Feb. 2 snowstorm that closed campus.
Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

Alex Delaney-Gesing & John Goold

It seems as if Punxsutawney Phil and Mother Nature were on the same page when welcoming in the month of February with a white blanket covering the northern parts of Ohio.

In Lorain County, an estimated 19 inches of snowfall was tracked throughout the week of Feb. 1, according to the National Weather Service. Winter storm warnings were issued at the beginning of the week, along with a Level 1 snow emergency being announced by Lorain County Sheriff’s Department.

With three levels of snow emergency classifications, a Level 1 indicates that motorists are urged to drive very cautiously and roadways may be icy and hazardous with blowing and drifting snow, as established by the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness.

With all this accumulated snowfall hitting at once, schools and even small businesses were forced to close down on Feb. 2. Though snow days were always hoped for in grade school, not all post-secondary students view the off day as a bonus.

“When I was little I used to love snow days, but now it just seems like they add more stress to my classes,” said Adam Smyers, a Lorain County Community College student. “It’s one less class meeting but you are still responsible for the readings and homework so even though you have the day off there’s still work to be done.”

Luckily,  LCCC was only closed on Feb. 2 due to the campus’ Physical Plant crew being able to keep up with the snow and clear campus for classes to resume the following day.

“In response to the forecasted winter storm and snowfall [we] had crews on campus Sunday plowing and preparing the site,” said Dale Lucas, director of LCCC’s Physical Plant Operations said. “The team assembled again on Monday at 2:30 a.m. to continue and make sure the college [was] safe and accessible for students and visitors.”

With the hard work of the Physical Plant team and outside help, LCCC’s parking lots were cleared and ready for use by the time the campus re-opened on Feb. 3.

“It was a true team effort as we had regular full-time, part-time, student helpers as well as Triangle Services staff on campus to support removal and cleanup of over 12 inches of snowfall [on Monday],” Lucas said.“The crews consisted of 20 people, [with] some working 12-14 hour shifts.

Already this winter season, the Physical Plant Operations department has used up a large portion of their overtime budget, according to Lucas. After the accumulation of snow over the past few weeks, an entire truckload of sidewalk salt has already been used up, and an emergency delivery was expedited. But after the heavy snow that left LCCC buried, the Physical Plant fulfilled their duties in ensuring the safety of students, faculty and staff on campus.

“Our entire team did a phenomenal job bearing the weather, working a lot of hours and getting campus ready for occupancy,” Lucas said.

Despite the parking lots being cleared out in time for classes, snow continued to fall in small doses, making it difficult to see the pavement lines to park their vehicles. As a result,  students, faculty and staff ended up having to park their cars near landmarks such as the light poles, curbs and other areas typically unaccustomed to being used as parking spots.

“Parking is always tough but when a storm like that hits it really turns the parking lots into a zoo,” Smyers said.

As Phil the groundhog has warned, there is still plenty of winter to go, though hopefully not enough to leave LCCC students with more snowdays in the future.

 

LCCC finds new partner in Brookside High

Kristin Hohman
Staff Writer

Starting this fall, Brookside High School students will be able to earn their high school diploma and an associate degree concurrently.

Research from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation initiated the early college high school program. The study came up with the theory that by taking 100 students from each class (freshmen, sophomores, etc), with average high school performance who are the first in their family to attend college, they would succeed with the proper support around them, according to Tracy Green, interim vice president of strategic and institutional development at Lorain County Community College.

“The belief was that if you provide quality education with lots of support wrapped around them, that they could achieve greater performance than if left to the traditional format of high school. So much so that they could actually earn an associate’s degree and a high school diploma simultaneously,”  Green said.

About ten years ago, LCCC was selected to pilot this initiative by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to Green. “The results have been fabulous,” Green continued, “Over 90 percent (of participants) go on to college after high school, similar percentages achieve an associate’s degree and high school diploma simultaneously.”

LCCC, now partnered with 25 high schools in the area including Elyria, Lorain, Avon Lake, and Vermilion, has taken this initiative a step further by combining the University Partnership and dual enrollment to lay out a path students can follow to earn their bachelor’s degree.

“If you look at the state average five percent of students earn some college credit before they graduate high school,” Green said. “If you look at that from a national perspective, it’s 7.8 percent. What we’ve done here at LCCC is 20 percent of students who graduate from a Lorain County high school have earned college credit. So we are far outpacing the state and the country,” she said.

Through Ohio’s College Credit Plus program, students can earn credits that appear on both their high school and college transcripts starting in the 2015-2016 school year. This dual enrollment option will be open to students at the beginning of their freshman year of high school.

“We take the strength of dual enrollment that we have, that we’ve been building over the years, and we take our strength with the University Partnership…and we wondered, ‘How can we bring those together?’ So that’s what we’re doing,” said Cynthia Kushner, director of marketing and outreach initiatives at LCCC.

LCCC has taken the state’s new College Credit Plus program and coordinated it with the UP to create degree paths, according to Kushner.

This opportunity provides students to earn their bachelor’s degree by the age of 20 through the UP.

“In many cases, like at Brookside, it actually begins at the high school campus, where you can begin to take college courses at the high school campus,” Kushner said.

My University is what brings the dual enrollment and UP together, Kushner said. This ensures that each student is assigned an advisor, scholarship opportunities, and given access to the college experience.

Kushner said that while LCCC has five of these degree paths mapped out, the hope is to include each bachelor’s degree that is available through the UP.

To participate, high school students must enroll in the program, take the Compass exam through LCCC, and the ACT or SAT, just as any normal pre-college student would. Once that is complete, a student would meet with an LCCC advisor as well as their high school counselor to ensure that all of the requirements are met. Brookside students will then have the option to take these classes at their high school, online, or on the LCCC campus.

This type of dual curriculum is flexible, allowing a student to start when they are ready.

 “What I really love about this program is it’s just as much for that highly motivated student as it is for that one who might begin to blossom a little bit later – maybe not until their junior or senior year,” Kushner said.

All of this comes at no cost to students. The program’s expenses will be split between the secondary institution and the high school. Per the state’s College Credit Plus program, the cost for public high school and public secondary institution must be between $40 to $160 per credit hour, according to the program’s website. Textbooks are to be included for participating students as well. However, students must pay for travel expenses on their own. Currently, only summer classes are not covered – if a student wishes to enroll in summer class, it will be at their own expense.

“This has become the most affordable, highest quality pathway to a degree possible,” Green said.

With 68 percent of Ohioans owning an average of $29,090 of student loan debt (which is among the highest in the country), this type of initiative could certainly help lift the burden to future college graduates.

In Lorain County, over 2,000 students were earning college credit while in high school and LCCC awarded over 21,000 credit hours, saving families over $3.5 million, according to Green.

“That’s at our tuition rates,” Green said. “If they took that at a public university in the state, it would have been well over $10 million.”

The program is expanding into the surrounding area high schools, expecting to add up to ten more schools, according to Kushner.

“The obvious benefits are we are saving a lot of cost and we’re saving a lot of time,” she said. “And I hear this from students personally, all the time. What they like about it is that it builds their confidence. Once they’ve completed the college course and been through it, they now know what it looks like, how it’s different, what the expectations are. Now they know, ‘Hey, I can do this.’ ”

Party “hearty” at LCCC’s annual Heartfest

Olivia Moe
Sports Editor

Lorain County Community College will be hosting the third annual Heartfest celebration on Saturday Feb. 21, to promote health awareness to students and to the public.

The events will include a Zumba fitness party running from 10:15 – 11:00 a.m. in the Ewing Center gym on the main LCCC campus, and a yoga session that will follow at 11:15 -12:15 p.m. in room PE 105. All events are free and open to the public.

Diana Jancura, a faculty member from the allied health and nursing division, will be the head of the event. She expects a larger number of participants compared to previous years.

“Last year we only had the Zumba party and with the addition of the yoga session, we expect a larger crowd,” she said.

Since the first Heartfest event in the spring of 2013, it has grown from a few dozen participants, to over one hundred.
Jancura encourages everyone of all experience levels to attend.

“Come and try the yoga and Zumba party with your friends and family, even if they have not tried it before. It is a great way to get active on a cold February morning.”
For more information contact Jancura at dianajancura@gmail.com

Blast to the past: reflections of the Civil Rights Movement

Kristin Hohman
Staff Writer

 

“Neither the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, nor the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would have even been considered were it not for the demonstrations that were going on in the south,”  said Arlene Dunn, a resident of Kendal at Oberlin senior-care facility.

She would know; she was there.

In recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day,  AmeriCorps, (a national civil society whose purpose is to engage adults in community service work with the goal of resolving community issues), and AmeriCorps Vista members from Lorain County Community College visited Kendal of Oberlin on Jan. 23 to hear first-hand experiences and memories of the Civil Rights Movement.

In the late 1950s, racial tensions in the United States were at an all-time high. Rosa Parks made her famous stance on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, Brown v. Board of Education was debated in the Supreme Court, and the Jim Crow laws ruled the majority of the south.

 

In 1957, Dunn was a junior in high school. Coming home from school, she would see stories covering Little Rock, AK, where nine African-American students were enrolled at Central High in an effort to desegregate public education. Known as ‘The Little Rock Nine”, these students were initially prevented from entering the school by Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus – who sent the National Guard to block school entrances.

The treatment of those nine African-Americans struck a chord with Dunn.

“Not only were they being pushed back by police, but being harangued by ordinary citizens. People were just standing around practically spitting in their faces, calling them all kinds of names, and trying to prevent them from entering Central High School,” Dunn remembered.

While attending college at Brandeis University, she became involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), an organization founded by college students that was responsible for many of the voter registration drives in the southern states. After graduating, Dunn moved to New York to work full time in the SNCC offices. Upon receiving a piece of hate mail through the SNCC office, she became inspired to join their national office in Atlanta.

Eventually,  Dunn found herself in Little Rock, Arkansas – the same city she saw on television when she was in high school.

 

In July 1964, Ozell Sutton walked into the Arkansas State Capitol Building and down the steps to the basement cafeteria. An African-American, Sutton was denied service on government property based on his race. He was forced to leave. The cafeteria soon became a private, “Members Only” club  known as Capital Club, Inc.”

Sutton and the NAACP filed a class action lawsuit against Capital Club. In March 1965, Philander Smith College students – a local all African-American college, and Arkansas SNCC volunteers, including Dunn, tried eating at the Capital Club. After the manager of the diner attempted to discourage the group, other patrons started trying to eat at the establishment. When this happened, the manager shut the doors.

Dunn recalled the mass of blue through the doors of the diner.

“We [could] see behind the glass doors they’re lining up some State Troopers – maybe eight of them…We thought we’d get arrested, or something.But we didn’t,” Dunn said. “They opened the doors and came out swinging their clubs.”

Reflecting on the past, she noted the lingering similarities in today’s society.

“One of the things that exists today, or still exists today is the fear of ‘other,’” Dunn said. “Fear of people who don’t look like you. The fear that people have I think…is fear of the ‘other’ people they can’t define and they can’t understand, and don’t apparently want to understand.”

LCCC sends off long-time employee

Faculty and staff gathered to celebrate the retirement of Jackie Diederich. Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

Faculty and staff gathered to celebrate Jackie Diederich’s career at LCCC.
Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

 

Alex Delaney-Gesing
Editor-in-Chief

Over the course of the past 30 years, Lorain County Community College has seen a countless number of implementations take place. During that time period, Executive Associate and Board Liaison in LCCC president’s office Jacqueline “Jackie” Diederich played a vital role in the early concept, development, and design of some of the most transformational education and economic initiatives the college has brought to benefit the community.

From having an instrumental role in the establishment of the University Partnership program and Early College to being a key member of the leadership teams who hosted political official visits (including President Barack Obama, presidential candidates John Kerry and John McCain, to name a few), her presence has been evident.

“It’s safe to say that Jackie’s been a part of each and every milestone this institution has achieved the last 30 years,” said LCCC President Dr. Roy Church during a celebration in honor of Diederich’s retirement on Jan. 27. “Her impact may not always be seen and it may not always have been in the forefront and easily recognized, but her leadership has been influential and widespread.”

Throughout her time at LCCC, Diederich worked for and supported two presidents, nine different board members and staffed over 200 district board of trustees meetings, workshops, and special sessions, Church said.

In 2008, Diederich was awarded the You Make a Difference Award as a showcase of her dedication to the college and influential role of mentor and friend to students, faculty and administration on campus. This recognition was given with good reason.

“Jackie embodies the values, the mission and the vision of this college so much so that LCCC has become her second home and obviously she is a central part of this college’s family,” Church said.

In her resignation letter, Church shared, Diederich expressed her gratitude and fondness of working at LCCC.

“As I think back to my early days in our office, I’m sure I must have felt some of the normal anxiety anyone would have when starting something new,” she said. “ But what I remember most thinking was that I had found my niche in this office and this institution.”

As a sign of appreciation for Diederich’s allegiance and contribution to the college, a commemorative brick in her name will be placed in front of the University Center building.

It’s just an indication about how deeply appreciated she for all that she has meant to all of us,” Church said, “..we wish her a wonderful retirement, and I more than anybody else will miss her greatly.”

Director of Campus Security takes helm of Human Resources Office

Keith Reynolds | The Collegian

Keith Reynolds | The Collegian

Keith Reynolds
Managing Editor

 

Keith Brown, director of Campus Security, plans to initiate a number of new innovations at Lorain County Community College in his new post as interim Human Resources Office director.

“I want to try to integrate the technology we have. We want to try to automate some of the processes for Peoplesoft [software currently used by LCCC staff and students for human resources and enrollment] and just make it less labor and paper intensive.”

With the retirement of Human Resources Office Director Sydney Lancaster this past December, Keith Brown, director of Campus Security, has been appointed to the position of interim director.

The move seemed like a natural progression to Brown.

“I was just interested in it. I had done a few investigations on the employee side, the personnel side, and I liked it,” he said. “I had been in security for 15 years, so it was time for me to seek a new challenge.”

With this new position comes an entirely different host of responsibilities that he must undertake.

“My main responsibility is to provide direction and guidance for the Human Resources Office, Brown explained. “Overseeing the employment, hiring process, benefits, and worker’s compensation; everything that goes with Human Resources. In addition to that, I oversee [Campus] Security.”

With the transferring of Brown to the Human Resources Office, Campus Security has undergone changes as well. Ken Collins, 16-year Campus Security officer a LCCC, has been named manager while David Hatcher, 15-year veteran of Campus Security has moved into the newly-created lead officer position.

This restructuring allows Brown to share the duties and management of Campus Security while still maintaining and remaining dedicated to his role as Human Resources Office director.

“Since we have a manager, I don’t have to be so consumed with the day-to-day operations. If something critical happens, that’s when I’ll get involved with security. [But] my main responsibility is Human Resources.”

As director, he hopes to bring new innovations to the Human Resources Office.

“I want to try to integrate the technology we have. We want to try to automate some of the processes for Peoplesoft [the software used by LCCC staff and students] and just make it less labor and paper intensive.”

Brown sees this new job as a valuable step in his life and career.

“Just thinking about my career long term, I thought that this would offer me a different challenge and something that I would have to learn,” he said. “And that’s what I like about this…it’s vastly different from [working in] security. It affords me the opportunity to grow and develop personally as well as professionally.”

 

Board votes to increase tuition

Alex Delaney-Gesing
Editor-in-Chief

Lorain County Community College’s District  Board of Trustees ruled in favor of raising the tuition rate for students on Jan. 22. Set to take effect beginning the start of the 2015 summer semester, this change comes as a result of maintaining and ensuring high quality programs available for LCCC students.

It’s never an easy decision to raise student tuition,” said Tracy Green, LCCC vice president for strategic and institutional development. “We’ve looked for others ways to garner support and so when we’re asking for an increase in tuition, it’s when it has become absolutely necessary.”

The price per credit hour will be raised $3.84, equating to approximately $100 more for students per semester. Currently, the tuition price for a full-time student at LCCC stands at $3,077. With the approved raise, the number will climb to $3,177. Per credit hour, the present cost (including tuition and fees) totals $118.34. After implementation of the increase, the figures will rise to $122.18.

Despite this slight upturn for students, LCCC will remain having one of the lowest tuition rates among the 23 community colleges in the state of Ohio. While currently second, the increased rate will move its ranking down third only to Sinclair Community College (with $2,972) and Cuyahoga Community College (with $3,136).

“We are still by far one of the lowest [priced] community colleges in the state of Ohio, and certainly the lowest among any public university,” Green said, “But we’re also in an environment where we have to keep pace with the quality of the programs, and so when other institutions have more resources to put into academic programs and student-support services, we need to be able to do the same.”

At LCCC, a high quality of education is a necessity in ensuring student’s success. However , the college’s revenue growth per student in comparison to inflation rates over the past fifteen years has led to a decrease in its overall progress, according to a press release statement from the office of LCCC’s vice president for strategic and institutional growth.  In the past, the state share of instruction contributed to 47 percent of the college’s functioning budget. However, today only 38 percent is covered by the state.

With this in mind, raising the tuition rate for students is a necessary step in order to continue to implement and maintain high quality programs at LCCC.

“Staying competitive with institutions that have greater resources, such as higher tuition, to invest in student support services and academic programs will be challenging in the long-term,” Dr. Roy Church, president of LCCC, said in a press release. “This modest tuition increase keeps LCCC among the lowest tuitions in the state, but attempts to keep pace with sector.”

Although this price change will take effect beginning this summer semester, students currently enrolled full-time who plan to continue on at LCCC in the fall will not be affected.

“When [the students] come back to us in the fall and continue full-time, their tuition is going to be held to this year’s rate,” said Green. “ It will not go up as long as they’re full-time until they achieve their degree.

Ewing Field House undergoes makeover

Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

Alex Delaney-Gesing | The Collegian

Olivia Moe
Sports Editor

The Ewing Field House will be closed due to renovations until the middle of the 2015 spring

semester. WIth this remodeling comes the promise of more energy efficiency and a saving in costs for the main campus.

“The Field House floor enhancement project will help promote health and wellness and ensure growth and development of all our activities to better serve the LCCC students and community,” stated Lisa Augustine, program coordinator for HPER.

Construction began towards the end of the fall semester of 2014 with the replacement of the

lighting fixtures. The floor replacements began on Jan. 5 and are estimated to be completed by Feb. 12. As a whole, the renovations will be completed between March 5 and 18.

The Field House consists of four interchangeable court areas. As a whole court, it equals out to a total size of 125 by 125 feet. When divided, a single court area is 56 by 125 feet, which is used to host several indoor sports such as basketball, volleyball, soccer, golf, softball and

tennis. The indoor track that runs above the artificial field is not part of the renovations.

“The floor replacement will allow for safer play and overall general use of the facility,” stated Robert Flyer, a member of LCCC’s Administrative Services. “It is part of our plan to continuously update and improve our facilities.”

Changes made to the field house include replacing inefficient and out of date lighting

fixtures and replacing the 30-year-old floors.

“The energy efficient lighting is part of the college’s overall strategy to reduce energy use and our carbon footprint.” Flyer stated.

With these renovations there will be an increase in energy efficiency in the HPER building. Converting the lights to LED fixtures will save 50 percent of energy and increase the levels of lighting by 70 percent.

The cost for replacing the lighting is approximately $48,000 and the Field House’s floor replacement comes to approximately $300,000. The lights will pay for themselves due to the energy savings and the amount of maintenance in less than two years. “The floor material was well beyond its normal expected life due to good maintenance and stewardship, but it was in need of replacement,” Flyer said.

The new floor is expected to last the college 30 years. Both renovation projects were funded by local capital funds, savings from leftover bond issuance funds, and even from the state of

Ohio. Due to these sources, there will not be an increase in user fees to fund the work.

New program aims to accelerate graduation rates

Kristin Hohman
Staff Writer

Lorain County Community College has started a new academic program called SAIL (Students Accelerating in Learning). SAIL is a three-year research study whose aim is to help students reach graduation in higher rates and at a quicker pace.

Based on the ASAP program founded at The City University of New York (CUNY) in 2007, SAIL is being further developed at LCCC as an academic plan and research study, according to SAIL Program Coordinator Matthew Mercado.

Mercado said the CUNY program saw great success.

“The students who weren’t in the program had a 23 percent graduation rate. The students who were in the program ended up at a 50 percent graduation rate within three years,” Mercado said.

As a result of its initial success, the study is now expanding, with three community colleges in Ohio being chosen to participate; LCCC, Cuyahoga Community College, and Cincinnati State Community College. CUNY is working alongside these post-secondary institutions in order to  oversee and develop the SAIL program to further success.

As research is a large portion of the program, SAIL and LCCC has partnered with MDRC, a national non-profit education research organization, as well as the Ohio Board of Regents. MDRC researchers will  track a student’s’ progress over the course of three years to make certain that success rates are as successful in Lorain County as they were in New York.

“We are actually researching it to find out if the results are equivalent,” Mercado

This spring marks the program’s first semester at LCCC, with a total of 70 students participating. SAIL has broken this group in half, with 35 students fully participating in the project and 35 students used for control purposes only. If a student is eligible, a computer randomly places them in either the study group or the control group.

In order to participate in the SAIL program, students are required to meet several qualifications including being a new student to campus or have completed fewer than 30 credit hours. Additionally, they must also be ‘college-ready’ or take developmental courses within one year of coming to campus. Only full-time students are able to be involved with the program, and only those seeking a degree, not a certificate, will be permitted. Finally, students must consent to be part of the research study as well.

As part of SAIL, students are assigned an academic advisor and must meet with them twice every month during their first year in the program. They are also required to meet with a career development specialist once per semester.

According to Mercado, tutoring is not required.

“As long as they maintain above a 2.0 GPA continuously, they will not be required to attend tutoring,” Mercado said. “It is recommended – and strongly encouraged, but it’s not required.”

All SAIL students must also attend a financial aid literacy workshop and maintain their financial aid during their time in the program.

For those eligible, the program offers many incentives, including Giant Eagle gift cards for each month they are enrolled, $300 textbook vouchers, and free summer classes. LCCC will also cover tuition that is not already covered by FAFSA or the Pell Grant for students registered in the program.

LCCC received a grant from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guarantee Corporation to fund the program for the three years.

Mercado said that SAIL plans to expand its study in the coming fall semester by enrolling 250 students.

The long-term hope for SAIL, Mercado said, is to see growing success over the next three years, which would culminate in LCCC implementing the program permanently. But for now, SAIL has three years to find the best way to see students off to graduation and post-education careers.

“I don’t feel like the program is a completed program,” Mercado said. “We want to get students’ feedback. We want to know what they think and how things are working for them to maybe change things.”

If interested in the SAIL program, contact Matt Mercado at mmercado@lorainccc.edu or 440-366-7320.

Free college proposal garners reaction

JRNM 151 students

It’s no secret that people now more than ever are realizing that if they wish to obtain a job that doesn’t require them to say “may I take your order,” they need a college degree. At Lorain County Community College students come from all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds to reach some level of higher education, some of them even working part-time jobs or being full-time parents. In President Barack Obama’s annual State of the Union address on Jan. 20, he pitched a plan for college students that centered on making two years of community college free.

A free post-secondary education can be a determining factor in high school graduates’ decisions to further their education, whether it be at a community college or a four-year university. However, universities and private colleges can be quite challenging to attend based on financial reasons, with a vast majority of students requiring some type of government assistance or financial aid.

With President Obama’s proposal to send people to community college tuition free for the first two years, the path to acquiring a degree could become less of a challenge and more of an attainable goal.

The proposal, called “America’s College Promise”, has the goal of helping students earn one half of their Bachelor’s degree and acquire skills needed to enter the workforce field at no cost to them. If all fifty states in the country participate in this plan, two million part-time and full-time college students would save an average of $3,800 in tuition per year, according to a press release from the office of the White House Press Secretary.

In order for this plan to work, students, community colleges, and federal governments would have to fulfill certain requirements, as laid out by President Obama himself.

The duty of a student involves maintaining a GPA of at least 2.5 and showing consistent advancement in making strides to complete their degree / program. A community college has the obligation of providing one of two mandatory implementations; academic programs with credits that transfer completely over to four-year universities and colleges or occupational training programs possessing high graduation rates that lead to in-demand degrees and certificates. Federal governments would provide funding covering three-quarters of tuition costs for the average community college, while states will have the obligation to supply the remaining funds needed in order to ensure there is no cost to qualifying students.

The plan may be the breakthrough many students need in order to begin their pursuit for a degree. From students to faculty, enthusiasm for the possibility of students acquiring a free two-year education has been expressed supported at LCCC.

“In terms of any program, whether it’s from federal or the state that helps reduce the cost for students to attend college we would be supportive and would hope to have the opportunity to design and be part of the creation of such a plan,” said Tracy Green, LCCC vice president of strategic and institutional development.

“I’m all for [the proposal],” said Cassandra Howell, an LCCC student in her second year of the nursing program. “I like the idea of free education because with the country already in so much debt and the lack of good paying jobs right now, any little bit will help.”

Howell is no different than the majority of students at LCCC in her reasoning behind attending a local community college. Even though the cost of education at LCCC is much more affordable than a major university, she says she’s still receiving financial aid and grants to pay her way through school.

“I thought about going anywhere else to college. I wanted to get the full college experience, but knew it was going to cost too much,” she said.

Zaineb Rafi, an engineering major, expressed similar views.

“I feel that it’s a great idea because I feel that the government puts off international students,” she said. “Most people don’t know that students from different countries pay three times more than the average American student.”

“I like being able to go to community college for cheap, but sometimes I feel I miss out on the experiences students get at other colleges,” said Devon Hill, a second-year student majoring in communications. “If I could save up for two years and transfer, I feel like I would get to experience both ways of college.”

Along with this proposal is the ‘American Technical Training Fund’ designed to augment innovative and high-quality technical training programs, as stated in the fact sheet of The White House. This plan’s intention lies in ensuring workers are adequately trained and prepared to meet the needs and requirements of today’s employers.

Alex Delaney-Gesing and JRNM-151 students Gabe Garcia, John Goold, Arieyauna Little, Torence Madison, Austin Remo, Reagan Sender and Maddie Stevanus contributed to this report.