One County...One Community...One College
Community colleges nationwide enroll 44 percent of all undergraduates and 49 percent of first-time freshmen students. Annually, two-year institutions provide millions of credit and non-credit students with the tools to be competitive in today’s global economy. BCCC was one of the first community colleges established in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Students come to the College to begin their academic careers, develop occupational skills, receive advanced training and pursue personal enrichment. Annually, approximately 10,000 credit students and 20,000 non-credit students are enrolled at one of the College’s three campuses in Newtown, Bristol and Perkasie.
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In response to the continued enrollment growth, BCCC expanded its Upper Bucks Campus to accommodate student demand and create a high-quality environment for teaching and learning. A new, 28,000 sq. ft. building opened in 2010, connecting the original building, which was also retrofitted to better serve students. The $15 million project includes:
- A new and more visible entrance to the campus from Blooming Glen Road;
- A student commons, library, five computer labs, faculty offices, and study rooms. The student commons will build a strong sense of community among students and faculty, providing space for informal meetings, performances and study sessions. The commons will also be available to the general community for meetings and other events.
- A science lab, eight new classrooms, and administrative space. Upper Bucks students must now travel to Newtown for several lab-based science courses; new labs will allow them to meet all degree requirements on the Upper Bucks Campus.
- Training facilities for continuing education and workforce development, including a Licensed Practical Nursing Skill Center Lab.
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The Campaign for Bucks County Community College
To help the College grow, and meet the community’s needs, the BCCC Foundation has launched a $1.5 million capital campaign, the largest in the College’s history. The campaign is seeking private support for the College’s three priority needs:
Upper Bucks Campus
The Upper Bucks Campus has received $13 million in state and county commitments toward its $15 million expansion and renovation project cost. Private support is needed to partially fill the $2 million funding gap and further enhance this state-of-the-art facility.
The Newtown Campus seeks to fund essential renovations to its existing facilities, including the library, student services center and science laboratories, and improving campus-wide access for disabled students.
In anticipation of increased enrollment, the College seeks to boost its overall scholarship endowment to ensure that tuition remains within reach for students with financial need (nearly 40% of students require financial assistance).
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Private Philanthropy and the Community College
Many people think that community colleges do not need private support since they are publicly funded. This is far from true, especially today. Under the legislation that created Pennsylvania’s community college system in 1963, colleges were to receive one-third of their operating funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, one-third from their sponsoring county or school district, and one-third from tuition revenue. Over the last decade, however, community colleges have experienced a decrease in public funding as their programs have grown. Consider the following:
- Challenged to meet the needs of a growing community, Bucks County now funds only 18% of the College’s operating budget—not the 30 percent envisioned at the College’s founding.
- BCCC students now pay more than 50 percent of the cost of their education rather than the one-third originally envisioned. While a full-time student pays just $1,729 in tuition and fees per semester, this still positions the College as the second most expensive community college in Pennsylvania and in the top 10 nationwide.
Given this changing—and challenging—funding climate, the BCCC Foundation is relying on private support more than ever before. In fact, the College’s ability to continue to serve its Bucks County community now depends on a combination of public and private support.