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Proposals For New Community College in NW PA Prompt Concerns About Funding, Fairness

Community college presidents are questioning proposals to create a new community college in northwestern Pennsylvania.

They say it comes down to money – and fairness.

Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges are funded in part by a local sponsor – either school districts or county governments.

Plans to create a new northwestern community college would not require local sponsorship, allowing the school to be funded with state aid and tuition alone.

Elizabeth Bolden, president of the Pennsylvania Commission of Community Colleges, says that could create some tension.

"I think we are not sure what the impact will be on existing colleges and that’s a risk to that proposal," she said.

One Democratic House lawmaker calls the proposed arrangement unfair.

A House bill to create a community college pilot program for the northwest is getting a committee hearing in late February.

A similar bill is pending approval in the Senate.

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