Budget cuts threaten STARS program

      The chancellor of Alabama's community college system says he is hopeful that budget cuts do not lead to the fall of a program that is aimed at helping community college students transfer credits to four-year institutions.

      The Statewide Transfer and Articulation Reporting System helps ensure community college students' core credits transfer to specific degree programs at four-year schools.

      The Dothan Eagle is reporting the program once had a budget of $1.2 million, eight full-time staff members and four part-time workers. Today, it has a budget of $375,000, two full-time employees and one part-time worker.

      Chancellor Mark Heinrich says the cuts make the program's mission almost impossible.

      Alabama Community College System officials say the STARS program has saved students about $1 billion in school tuition, books and room and board since it was launched back in 1994.