ELYRIA — Lorain County Community College’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously Thursday to place the expiring 10-year University Partnership levy on the November ballot with an increase that will bring in an additional $3 million annually.
The University Partnership levy is 1.5 mills and raises $9 million. If the renewal plus a 0.6 mill increase is passed by voters, it will raise $12 million a year.
The increase will cost the owner of a $100,000 home roughly $21 more a year, LCCC President Roy Church said.
The funds will be used to grow the program, which provides a direct pathway to bachelor’s and master’s degrees from 12 colleges and universities without LCCC students leaving Lorain County.
The highly successful program started in 1995 and serves thousands of students a year, but Church, who has led the college for more than 26 years, said there is room to grow.
Startling statistics about the ever-changing economic and job market of the future only serve to bolster Church’s push that more college graduates are needed.
“Over 60 percent of all jobs in Ohio by 2020 will require some postsecondary education, making access to affordable, quality higher education more important now than ever to ensuring people are prepared for jobs and Lorain County is ready to keep growing the economy,” he said. “The University Partnership program has yielded tremendous results for Lorain County. We are making progress in educational attainment, but we need to deepen those efforts.”
Census data show that LCCC’s efforts are working.
Between 2000 and 2010, Lorain County saw a 32 percent increase in the number of associate degree holders, 25 percent in bachelor’s degree holders and 41 percent increase in those who obtain graduate degrees.
Many of those degrees were obtained at LCCC, which over the years has partnered with institutions including Cleveland State University, Ashland University, John Carroll University and Hiram College to provide advanced degrees.
The program, just like the college, is now supported partly with tax dollars, and Church is hoping that commitment will translate into success in November.
“Fifty years ago, citizens of this community stepped forward to create LCCC as the first community college campus in Ohio and passed an original operating levy to support it,” he said. “They believed access to higher education would create a better future for Lorain County. The results demonstrate it has and local support has made it possible.”
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