DOTHAN, Ala – The chancellor of Alabama’s community college system says he hopes budget cuts don’t lead to the collapse of a program intended to help community college students transfer credits to four-year institutions.
The Statewide Transfer and Articulation Reporting System helps ensure that community college students’ core credits transfer to specific degree programs at four-year schools.
The program once had a budget of $1.2 million, eight full time staffers and four part-time workers. Now, it has a budget of $375,000, two full-time employees and one part time worker, the Dothan Eagle reported Saturday.
The cuts make the program’s mission nearly unsustainable, Chancellor Mark Heinrich said.
“Right now we’re holding our breath that the STARS website doesn’t go down,” he said. “If that happens students won’t be able to pull up course guides and print their contracts.”
An annual budget of $500,000 would help the program execute the technical upgrades staff needs to prepare transfer guides and more, Heinrich said.
The STARS program has saved students about $1 billion in tuition, books and room and board since it was launched in 1994, Alabama Community College System officials have said.
In 2012, more than 73,500 students received course guides from the STARS program and in its busiest year—the 2009-10 school year—more than 89,000 students were given course guides.
The program mostly serves nursing majors, followed by students looking to study accounting and business majors, according to the program’s annual report.