Skip to content

MAC applauds ‘Higher Ed’ budget

Passage this week of the Higher Education budget by the Missouri House and Senate has put a smile on the face of Mineral Area College President Dr. Steve Kurtz.

HB 2003 restores core funding for state community colleges to the level at which they were originally funded in fiscal year 2018 and has provided a “new lease on life” for several programs important to MAC. It was feared that cuts recommended by Gov. Eric Greitens would adversely affect Missouri community colleges.

One of those saved from the chopping block was the SkillUp Program that offers food stamp recipients in the state an opportunity to gain skills, training or work experience.

“It was debated in conference and the committee decided to take the House position and put our $2 million in the budget to fund the local match to expand the program across the state,” Kurtz said. “This is a big win for the Missouri Community Colleges Association (MCCA) and we owe our legislative team a debt of gratitude for ushering this across the finish line.”

The A+ Program, which provides scholarship funds to eligible graduates of A+ designated high schools who attend a participating public community college or vocational/technical school, saw an increase in funding.

“There is an increase of $2.5 million for A+ with Chairman [Rep. Scott] Fitzpatrick indicating that if more money is necessary, he would make the request in a supplemental budget next session before the end of fiscal year 2019,” Kurtz said. “All in all, this was a very good outcome for the community college budget given where we started with the governor’s recommendation.”

The college has also learned that it’s been granted accreditation to dual credit programs — such as the one taught in high schools for MAC credit — by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) Accreditation Commission.

The commission’s actions bring the total number of accredited programs across the country to 107 in 23 states, including MAC.

As enrollment trends have shifted — the 2008 economic downturn saw record enrollment numbers at colleges and universities, followed a few years later by drops in traditional enrollment and boosts in dual-credit/enrollment programs offered with high schools — MAC began pursuing what it considers the “gold standard” of accreditation from NACEP.

According to MAC Dual Credit Director Julie Downs and Accreditation Coordinator Leslie Evans, the pair put in about two years’ worth of work to achieve NACEP’s “seal of approval.”

“This assures that the classes MAC offers for credit in high schools demonstrate the same academic integrity as the courses taught on MAC’s campus,” Downs said. “The accreditation, which requires regular reporting and checkups, is good until the 2024-25 academic year.

“This accreditation was possible because of the hard work and dedication of MAC faculty and the dual credit teachers all showing a commitment ensuring dual credit students have the best educational experiences.”

Evans added, “The accreditation process was extensive, but extremely rewarding to see the positive impact of dual credit courses for our students.”

“All in all, this was a very good outcome for the community college budget given where we started with the governor’s recommendation.” — Dr. Steve Kurtz, MAC president

Mineral Area College President Dr. Steve Kurtz announces the news to school trustees that the Missouri House and Senate have approved a Higher Education budget higher than had been suggested by Gov. Eric Greitens.

Mineral Area College President Dr. Steve Kurtz announces the news to school trustees that the Missouri House and Senate have approved a Higher Education budget higher than had been suggested by Gov. Eric Greitens.

Accreditation Coordinator Leslie Evans, left, and Mineral Area College Dual Credit Director Julie Downs put in about two years' worth of work to achieve accreditation for the school's dual credit program with local high schools.

Accreditation Coordinator Leslie Evans, left, and Mineral Area College Dual Credit Director Julie Downs put in about two years’ worth of work to achieve accreditation for the school’s dual credit program with local high schools.

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

Leave a Comment