VC students express support of community colleges to state legislators
State Representative Geanie Morrison answers questions from Victoria College students in her office during Texas Community College Day at the State Capitol on Feb. 7.

Eighteen Victoria College students joined hundreds of other students and administrators in participating in Texas Community College Day on Feb. 7 at the State Capitol in Austin.

VC students were able to meet with State Representative Geanie Morrison, State Senator Lois Kolkhorst and an aide for State Representative John Cyrier to express their support for community colleges in Texas.

“Community College Day was a great first-time experience for me,” VC nursing graduate Donny Carroll said. “It really gave me insight about the importance of funding issues to help educate our state’s students.”

The 85th Regular Legislative Session began on Jan. 10 and the Senate Finance Committee and House Appropriations Committee and their subcommittees will conduct funding hearings through March. A conference committee will be appointed by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker of the House Joe Straus to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of the appropriations bill.

The conference committee will then draft a budget and send it to both chambers for final approval. The legislative session ends on May 29.

VC students expressed their concerns to legislators about expected budget cuts that could affect funding for community colleges. Morrison and Kolkhorst vowed to do what they could to ensure community colleges were well represented during the hearings.

Morrison, herself a VC alumna, thanked Victoria College students and VC President Dr. David Hinds for making their voices be heard.

“This is really important for all of you to be up here and be talking to the different members because it shows them you really care and this is something very important to you,” Morrison said. “You are taking a day off to come up here and speak about how important community colleges are to your community and the state. If many of you did not have the option of community college, it would be difficult for you to further your education. Victoria College is a premier institution. Whether you decide to get a certificate or an associate degree, Victoria College will prepare you well to get a good job.”

Kolkhorst told VC students she understands the important role community colleges play for Texas.

“I think community colleges are definitely the gateway to higher education,” Kolkhorst said. “The most affordable route is through community colleges. That’s why we’re sensitive to tuition increases because we know the impact it has on enrollment.”

Hinds and Jennifer Yancey, VC vice president of college advancement and external affairs, were among the VC staff and administrators attending the day-long event.

“I am very proud of Victoria College’s representation and our students’ interest in state government,” Hinds said. “The students enjoyed the opportunity to communicate with our lawmakers and effectively expressed their support for VC and all community colleges.”
State Senator Lois Kolkhorst (right) answers questions from Victoria College students during Texas Community College Day on Feb. 7 at the State Capitol.
Published: Wednesday, 15 February 2017

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