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Rock Valley College to offer tuition waivers for first year at ATC

Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 9:19 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - In unanimous fashion, the Rock Valley College board of trustees approves a plan to offer free tuition to 300 students in the region who plan to take classes at the school’s new advanced technology center.

“We are definitely excited about it because we will impact the lives of approximately 300 students,” Rock Valley College President Howard Spearman said.

The plan offers local college students a chance to learn the newest in technology for free. 300 tuition waivers will be distributed to students for the first year of class at the advanced technology center.

“It’s providing a very affordable education,” State Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-69th) said. “The college is being smart with taxpayer dollars and utilizing those resources that are scarce to the best of their ability to provide a great opportunity.”

The program breaks down the waivers by zip code, and Spearman believes it will put classes like welding, truck driving, CNC machining, and industrial maintenance within reach of more students.

“We are expanding our footprint in the region but we also consider accessibility and how students can access the Advanced Technology Center,” Spearman said.

Transportation remains one of the key issues surrounding the ATC, State Rep. Maurice West (D-67th) says affordable education is important, but without fair and reliable access he believes the offer won’t aid certain populations.

“I’m not impressed mainly because it sounds well and good but there’s gonna be a lot of people especially people who need it who are going to be looking on or be wondering how they will get there,” West said.

Spearman says the college is working on a transportation plan, but the details surrounding it are still months away.

“We would really looking for transportation at the beginning of August,” Spearman said.

Spearman says there is a bus stop at the ATC and says the college will work with the cities of Rockford and Belvidere to make sure the stop is functional.

The board also approved the budget for the ATC this means construction on the multi-million dollar facility will start in January.

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