By Sean Barron
Eastern Gateway Community College has announced a program to provide additional financial assistance for students planning to attend the college’s Valley Center location during the spring 2013 semester.
Many new EGCC students will receive a 50-percent tuition discount, thanks to a new one-time Half-Off grant, Dr. Laura Meeks, EGCC’s president, said during a news conference Monday at Valley Center, 101 E. Federal St. downtown.
The grant will make it easier for new students, many of whom can’t afford to attend a four-year college, to earn two-year associate degrees, Meeks noted.
Eastern Gateway’s Valley Center site has 576 students this semester, more than 60 percent of whom work full or part time, she said.
“More than 75 percent of our students qualify for financial aid, and these funds cover most students’ tuition and fees,” the president explained. “We [also] wanted to help another portion of our students who may be struggling with the cost of their higher education.”
In addition, the grant program likely will promote and fill seats at EGCC’s downtown facility, which opened in August, Meeks continued.
Also this spring, Eastern Gateway will offer 12 new programs to supplement psychology, sociology, English and other traditional transfer courses.
The 12 are: accounting, administration assistant, business management, electronic medical coding, electronic records keeping, health-information management, health science, interactive digital media, a licensed-practical-nurse to registered-nurse program, line construction, paralegal training and teacher education, Meeks noted.
The program should appeal to many adults wishing to return to college for additional training and to increase the likelihood they will get better jobs, she explained.
“We’re very focused on jobs. We help people get jobs,” Meeks added.
Meeks said she’s excited about the opportunities the grants will provide to students, especially nontraditional ones.
“Customer satisfaction is the most compelling reason people keep returning to college,” she said, adding that EGCC recently added a nursing lab and continues to grow.