President Robert Knight presents Clark’s State of the College address
During his “State of the College” address at 11 a.m. today, Clark College President Robert K. Knight addressed the budget situation facing Clark College as it makes the transition from being state supported to being state assisted. Knight also shared 2011 college highlights and outlined short- and long-term plans for college programs and facilities. Additionally, Knight announced the names of the first inductees into the Clark College Athletic Hall of Fame, as well as the recipients of the 2012 Iris Awards, honoring women of achievement in Southwest Washington.
“As state funding has declined and tuition has gone up, the impact has been dramatic,” said Knight. “Just a few years ago—as our college celebrated our 75th anniversary—the state of Washington provided 61.6% of our total operating budget. One year later, state funding had declined to 52.5%. It’s now 41.5% and will likely drop below 40% by the end of this academic year.”
Knight noted that “in the past three years, [Clark students] have experienced tuition increases of 7%, 7% and 12%. Another 12% increase will take effect next year . . . This means our students are relying more and more on loans, not just for their education, but also for their everyday expenses. This translates into more debt for our students. This will have long-term consequences, not only for our students but also for our regional economy.”
To counteract this trend, Knight introduced “The Penguin Promise,” a pilot program beginning this fall enabling up to 25 Boys and Girls Club members to attend Clark College, with community support. The students will receive scholarships for tuition, fees, and books, as well as program mentors. Knight also announced—in addition to many other plans to uphold the college’s promise for quality education—an expanded mechatronics program, new degrees in graphic design, a partnership with Eastern Washington University, a partnership between PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center and Clark’s Corporate and Continuing Education, additions to the Teaching and Learning Center, and an enhanced dental hygiene program. Knight’s complete remarks will be available after 2 p.m. this afternoon by clicking here.