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SMCC planning to launch fundraising campaign

SUMMIT — Southwest Mississippi Community College officials hope a capital fundraising campaign will provide the college with money to help fund new dormitories, programs and equipment for the school.

SMCC President Dr. Oliver Young said plans are ongoing for the fundraising effort, which is expected to begin in early 2011. A target amount has not been set, he said.

The Clements Group of Salt Lake City, a consulting firm that specializes in fundraising for community colleges, is working with SMCC officials.

“This is the first time we’ve ever ventured out like this,” Young said. “Most of the community colleges in the state have had campaigns of this type.”

He said funds raised during the campaign will provide an independent, flexible source of funding for the school.

Young said money raised by the campaign will be used for new dormitories, scholarships, staff development and student activities as well as equipment and training to keep pace with changing technology.

State funding, which is based on the number of full-time students enrolled at the school, comprises the bulk of the college’s revenue.

Tuition is the second-largest funding source, and property tax revenue from Pike, Amite, Walthall and Wilkinson counties is the third.

“Our construction on campus is funded by bond issues,” Young said, adding that bond funds for the state’s community colleges are distributed based on full-time student enrollment.

Because of its small district, he said, SMCC does not have as many full-time students as the larger colleges, despite getting students from the Louisiana parishes of Tangipahoa, St. Helena and Washington, “so we have to save our bond money each year until we have enough for a project,” Young said.

He said SMCC officials began discussing the fundraising campaign in 2008, but delayed moving ahead when the economy took a downturn.

He said part of the planning involved a series of meetings with residents of the communities served by the college.


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