Posted December 12, 2019
In the early 1960s, Lorain County residents united to achieve a grand vision: to create Lorain County Community College as the first community college in Ohio, ensuring local access to affordable college education. In doing so, citizens passed a general operating levy to create a foundational base of local support for LCCC as an investment in current and future generations. In 1963, Lorain County Community College opened its doors. Over five and half decades later, Lorain County Community College has served one in four county residents through credit courses and has impacted more than 50% of all households as a means to good jobs and a better future. In addition, 61% of Lorain County high school graduates start their college experience at LCCC. This level of impact is possible because the community has sustained its local investment in LCCC.
The college’s general operating levy, which was last updated in 2010, will expire in December of 2020. To continue to meet the education and training needs of Lorain County in this rapidly changing economy, the Lorain County Community College District Board of Trustees unanimously voted to place a 10-year expiring levy on the March 17 ballot. This renewal will sustain the support from the existing 1.8 mills operating levy and add 0.5 mills, which equates to an additional investment of less than $1.50 per month per $100,000 in property value.
Since the levy was last updated in 2010, LCCC has delivered valuable results to the community. In the past decade, LCCC has experienced a 94% increase in students earning degrees and certificates, with more than 85% of graduates continue to live and work in our region. More than 12,000 have successfully transferred to four-year colleges and universities, saving tens of thousands of dollars in college debt due to their strong start at LCCC. In May 2019, 43% of high school graduates earned college credits from LCCC through the college’s robust College Credit Plus program, saving families more than $6.5 million in tuition.
Benjamin Fligner, Chairman of the Board of Trustees said, “This issue is critical to keeping our workforce and our local economy strong because without LCCC, many people could not afford the college education and training needed to prepare for jobs in today’s economy. Without a skilled workforce, companies cannot compete. Investing in LCCC is an investment in our community’s future.”
Studies show that in the next five years, more than 65% of jobs will require education beyond high school. The economy is transforming and with it, the education and skills required for good jobs are increasing. Funds from this ballot issue will protect critical education and training programs residents need to succeed in high demand fields like healthcare, technology, advanced manufacturing, public safety, skilled trades, engineering and business.
“This is impact that makes a real difference,” said Lorain County Community College President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D., “LCCC and our University Partnership are the affordable, high quality path to good jobs for residents and families right here in Lorain County. LCCC’s tuition is among the lowest in the state and we have the highest student success rate of any community college in Ohio. Student success leads to community growth.” Additionally, in 2018, the American Association of Community Colleges, which represents more than 1,200 community colleges across the country, recognized LCCC as first in nation for Excellence in Student Success. In November 2019, the prestigious Aspen Institute recognized LCCC as among the Top 150 community colleges in nation.
According to an economic impact study about Lorain County Community College conducted by EMSI (a national leader in economic modeling, data and analytics) in 2018, for every $1 spent by taxpayers on education at LCCC, the College provides $14 in economic benefit to the community.