UPDATE: Community college leaders seeking funding boost

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — Representatives of Mississippi’s 15 community and junior colleges were at the Capitol on Thursday urging legislators to steer more money their way.

State Board of Community and Junior Colleges Executive Director Eric Clark says enrollment this spring is up 16 percent compared with last year.

Clark says the increase has been driven by the recession. As more people lose their jobs, they’re turning to the community colleges for additional job training.

But Clark says the increased enrollment comes as the state deals with a tight budget. He says budget cuts this year have reduced the schools’ funding by about $21 million.