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Community colleges tell Wyoming Legislative committee that budgets are a concern

Sunset at the Western Wyoming Community College, with sagebrush and red rocks in the foreground.
Western Wyoming Community College

Wyoming community colleges urged the legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee this week to support the governor's request for pay hikes and to consider other increases as well. During the discussion on community college budgets, many presidents said it's been a difficult financial time for colleges. Because of this, many say that students will need to foot more of the bill for education.

Community College Commission Director Sandy Caldwell said staffing is a growing problem across the state's college system as faculty and staff are leaving for better-paying jobs. Casper College President Darren Devine added that colleges have eliminated a range of critical programs.

"Elimination of student health services on campus; decreased numbers of recruiters and student advisors; reduction of library hours; elimination of career counselors; elimination of professional development for faculty and staff; elimination of student mental health services," said Devine.

He said they are at the point where they can't grow one program without cutting another. University of Wyoming (UW) President Ed Seidel shared similar concerns and said that's why UW is considering some structural changes to try to attract more students and generate more revenue.

Bob Beck retired from Wyoming Public Media after serving as News Director of Wyoming Public Radio for 34 years. During his time as News Director WPR has won over 100 national, regional and state news awards.
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