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The News Journal - Carney Lays Out Plan for Higher Education

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The News Journal - Carney Lays Out Plan for Higher Education

By Rachel Kipp

Expanding the state's SEED scholarships and finding a continuous funding source for Delaware Technical & Community College are among gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. John Carney Jr.'s priorities for strengthening Delaware's higher education efforts.

Carney, who released his plan Monday, said higher education must become a "high priority." He wants to collaborate with Delaware college presidents and trustees to develop a strategic plan for helping each institution reach its goals.

"It is important to strengthen these institutions and make them engines of economic growth in the state," he said.

The state's SEED scholarship provides money for eligible students to attend Delaware Tech for two years. Students in the University of Delaware's two-year Associate in Arts program also can participate. Carney wants to expand SEED to Delaware State University. He also wants to create a program to pay for two more years of school for high-achieving students. The initiative was introduced, but not funded, by the General Assembly this year.

Carney said many of his proposals, including a statewide college awareness campaign in middle schools and a greater emphasis on math and science courses in high schools, would require little funding but create a big difference in the readiness level of college freshmen.

State Treasurer Jack Markell, Carney's opponent in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary, has released two plans related to higher education.

"Over the past eight years, Delaware's neighboring states have aggressively pursued some of the points in John's plan," Markell said Monday. "Those states have already made significant strides, and the next governor is going to need a detailed, comprehensive strategy to make Delaware competitive. John's vague talking points that don't tell voters how he will achieve those goals or how much things will cost are not going to get the job done."

Delaware Tech officials have been seeking legislative support for a community college infrastructure fund for capital projects that would be fueled by tax money. Proposals to use a property tax increase and an increased real estate transfer tax failed to gain General Assembly support. Delaware Tech President Orlando George said Monday he was "appreciative" of Carney's support of finding a capital funding source for the school.

Carney called for state officials to better utilize Delaware Tech's resources.

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