Pearl River administrators stand up for community college students – Picayune Item

POPLARVILLE, Mississippi — Jeff Long, vice president of Poplarville campus and student services, and Dr. Jennifer Seal, vice president of institutional planning and research, represented Pearl River Community College among the 29 trustees of Mississippi community colleges that have recently completed the Community College Policy Fellows Program (CPFP). The program culminated in the Legislative Summit in Washington, DC, where they advocated on behalf of community college students.

The Community College Policy Fellows program is a 20-month professional development initiative sponsored by the Mississippi Community College Board and led by AdvocacyBuild, LLC. The curriculum focuses on four pillars of the national agenda: policy, leadership, networking and advocacy.

“Pearl River Community College uses all available platforms to better serve our students,” said PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood. “We were honored to have two of our Vice Presidents represent the College and our students nationally.”

The 2022 cohort of CPFP focused on two policy issues: (1) Pell’s short-term eligibility for short-term training programs and (2) statewide broadband expansion. Currently, to qualify for Pell Grants,

a program must be 600 clock hours. Eligibility for shorter-term programs should be established, with safeguards to ensure that only high-quality programs receive support. Community colleges serve all students in Mississippi, including those in areas without

adequate broadband capacity. Support for these initiatives will remove barriers to access for students and improve equity of access to higher education.

While in Washington, D.C., April 3-6, fellows met with members of Mississippi congressional delegations, including Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker, and U.S. House members Michael Guest,

Trent Kelly and Steven Palazzo. CPFP members also met with the US Senate Committee on Commerce, staff from the US Department of Education, and the US Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development. Before meeting the delegates, fellows

were briefed on policy issues by the Association of Community College Trustees, the American Association of Community Colleges, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

“CPFP is an exceptional program that has helped educate me on issues such as federal and state legislation, and how the advocacy process works between our system and law-making,” said Long. “I am grateful

to all involved in the delivery of such a program, including Pearl River Community College and their support, and to Dr. Ed Davis and Tyson Elbert for their hard work in making the program successful for its scholars .

Dr. Seal added, “At Pearl River Community College, we advocate for students in a wide variety of areas on a daily basis. Working with the Community College Policy Fellows Program gave us the opportunity

champion the efforts of all Mississippi community colleges on a national platform while strengthening relationships with elected officials and colleagues.

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