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A forum for the six Democratic mayoral candidates was held at Community College of Philadelphia Thursday night — hosted by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists.

The six Democratic mayoral candidates discussed “working-class” issues at a forum hosted by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists and sponsored by The Philadelphia Tribune in addition to other community and media partners Thursday.

On April 1, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Senator Vincent Hughes visited the Community College of Philadelphia's West Regional Center, and took time to meet with students from our West Philadelphia Skills Initiative.

The forum panel at the Community College of Philadelphia included Daily News columnist Jenice Armstrong, WURD radio host and Daily News columnist Solomon Jones, the Philadelphia Tribune's Irv Randolph and the Vanguard's Amanda Sy.

Mon 20

Dr. Donald Guy Generals

President Donald Guy Generals convened a second all-College meeting on March 16, updating the College community on important issues relating to student success.

A crowd filled Bonnell Auditorium for the town-hall style gathering, which was also video-streamed for employees in the West, Northwest and Northeast Regional Centers. While on stage, Dr. Generals rolled up his shirt sleeves and used a lapel microphone that allowed him to move around and interact with the crowd.

Among the topics Dr. Generals highlighted:

  • The amazing season for the Colonials men's basketball team and Coach Joe Rome. The Colonials played in the NJCAA Division III Championships in Loch Sheldrake, N.Y., where Rafiq Johnson was named to the all-tournament team. They made it to the national championship in their first year of NJCAA playoff eligibility. Moreover the Colonials head coach Joe Rome was named the Doug Yennie Coach of the Year for leading his squad to a final overall record of 25-2 during the regular season and regional play.
  • The importance of student learning assessment activities and strategies, which enable the College community to monitor and broaden student success. A team from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education will visit the College March 31 to April 1 to review these efforts. Last year, a Middle States accreditation team found the College compliant on 13 of 14 accreditation standards. The College was directed to submit additional documentation in the area of student assessment. While a team has worked to pull together materials and connect the entire community to learning assessment efforts, the College remains fully accredited.
  • A proposal to offer 50th Anniversary Scholarships to help students who graduate from a Philadelphia high school pursue an associate’s degree full time at Community College of Philadelphia with no cost for tuition and fees. “We really feel strongly about moving students to full-time enrollment and having them have a structured experience here that doesn’t allow them to flounder...and enables them to graduate,” Dr. Generals said.
  • A decision to hire five new, full-time student advisors in the FY 2015-2016 budget. Advisors provide critical support and academic guidance to students so they can stay on track toward credential and degree completion.
  • Dr. Generals updated the College community on the budget process for FY 2015-2016. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter have proposed additional funding for the College in their budgets. Wolf’s budget would give the state’s 14 community colleges an additional $15 million, of which the College would receive about $1.9 Million, Dr. Generals said. Mayor Nutter has recommended to City Council the College receive an additional $3.4 million in operating and capital dollars. Dr. Generals urged the College community to support the proposed increases, which will position the College to forgo a tuition increase for next fall. The funding levels proposed also would enable the College to expand and strengthen classroom instruction and student support services; address facility upgrades; develop customized training for businesses and align with the K-12 curriculum to expand high school partnerships.

Community College of Philadelphia announced its "50th Anniversary Scholars Program" program, which will provide free tuition for graduates 'high school' low income who meet the eligibility requirements.

The Community College of Philadelphia, the largest public higher education institution in Philadelphia, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a new program that will offset tuition for an estimated 440 students who are eligible for Pell Grants, beginning in the next academic year.

Each year at the Community College of Philadelphia, hundreds apply, meet the academic standards, get federal financial aid, but it's still not enough and they can't afford to enroll. Now, CCP is joining what's becoming a nationwide trend and making tuition free to motivated students. "We saw an inordinate amount of students not being able to finish their registration or actually start their classes because they couldn't meet the gap between what the financial aid gave them and what they were able to afford and they dropped out," Dr. Guy Generals, CCP President, said.

Philadelphia has one of the highest poverty rates in the country at 26.5 percent, according to U.S. Census Bureau. So it was that need that drove the Community College of Philadelphia to offer free tuition to low-income students. We're not skimming from the top. These are students who, for all intents and purposes, wind up coming here and in too many cases, even with aid and grant dollars, can't continue because of finances. This is a way to winnow away some of the financial barriers," President Donald Generals said.