FORT HOOD HERALD: Central Texas College will push legislators for changes to help troops, vets

Career College Central Summary:

  • Central Texas College serves a unique set of students, and college officials have specific issues they would like Texas’ representatives to address during this year’s legislative session, as well as several issues for federal representatives.
  • With a military population that crosses international boundaries, advocating for state and federal policies that remove unnecessary barriers to service members remains a top priority for the college, said Brian Sunshine, the government and community relations director at CTC.
  • The last Higher Education Act required the state “to stop predatory practices by some unscrupulous for-profit colleges,” said Thomas Klincar, CTC’s chancellor. “It didn’t work. An unintended consequence has been to drive up costs to students attending nonprofit, public colleges like CTC … We need a change to the (education act).”
  • One of the Higher Education Act’s main facets driving up costs for students is its requirement that all colleges receive state licenses to operate, a huge challenge for CTC, Sunshine said.
  • Initially meant to better regulate for-profit colleges, the law has placed an undue burden on national and international nonprofit colleges like CTC, he said.
  • “For a community college with a restricted budget, to repeat that process over and over again is difficult,” Sunshine said. “The for-profit colleges can do that very easily, but our budgets are limited. … It creates a barrier for active-duty and veteran students to gain access to proven and effective education.”
  • The college also will advocate for limited government oversight and requirements for its mostly military students. In several instances CTC’s students are dealing with military, state and federal hoops they must jump through before enrolling.
  • One policy currently working well the college wants the state to continue is the Texas Success Initiative, which requires all students entering college to be assessed in reading, math and writing in order to ensure college readiness.
  • Another successful policy that CTC officials hope state legislators will build on is the College Credit for Heroes Program, which takes military training and skills and subsequently awards equivalent college credit.
  • “CTC is currently in charge of the program for the state, and we want it to expand,” Sunshine said, explaining it saves service members time and money.

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