AUGUSTA (AP) – The head of the Maine Community College System welcomes the added responsibilities being placed on the system, but says more resources are needed to do the job right.

John Fitzsimmons, president of the community college system, said additional money and building space are needed if community colleges take over the two-year degree programs now offered by the state’s four-year universities.

The University of Maine System’s new strategic plan calls for phasing out most associate degree programs and transferring them to the state’s community colleges.

“We would need additional resources to take the students on. We’ve already discussed it with trustees,” Fitzsimmons said Wednesday during a meeting with the editorial board of the Morning Sentinel and the Kennebec Journal.

The community college system, formerly the technical college system, is a key player in the reorganization plan written by the state’s university system.

The community colleges, with their seven campuses and eight off-campus centers, would provide the two-year associate-degree programs. Students could then transfer seamlessly to the university system for baccalaureate degrees.

Fitzsimmons said the community college system has to look closely at the plan.

“We have to do a due diligence,” he said. “All two-year programs are not the same. The two-year nursing program is expensive; an English program is not. We want to play the role, but it takes the resources. We’re not coming without the resources.”

Fitzsimmons said more money will have to come from the Legislature, which this year provided $41 million of the system’s $92 million budget.

He plans to ask for $2 million to $3 million more for next year.

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