Speeches & Writings

By Gregory T. DeCinque, interim president of TCC

Op-Ed: Higher education, free from debt

The Virginian-Pilot, June 5, 2019

IF YOU’RE he parent of a college-aged son or daughter, you no doubt celebrated the recent news about in-state tuition rates.

The State Board for Community Colleges voted May 16 to maintain current in-state tuition and mandatory fees for the 2019-2020 academic year. That means Tidewater Community College will freeze tuition and continue to cost in-state students $185.35 per credit hour, approximately one-third of the comparable costs of attending Virginia’s four-year public universities.

In addition, most four-year schools in the commonwealth agreed to a tuition freeze in response to the General Assembly allocating more than $50 million in its budget to incentivize colleges to do so.

Given that student debt is more than $1.4 trillion nationally — which surpasses outstanding credit card debt, according to the nonprofit Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust — that’s a welcome move. But as interim president of TCC, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out a cost-saving alternative that should be part of the conversation when weighing options about your child’s future.

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Tragedy at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center

June 4, 2019

Members of the TCC and Hampton Roads Communities:

Saturday should have been an ordinary weekend day. A day for errands, maybe. Picking up branches from the recent storms. Playing with children and grandchildren. Instead, for 12 local families, Saturday was the first day without a loved one.

I wanted to find out how many mass shootings there have been since I became TCC president last July. I lost count. So far this year, 148 shooting incidents have resulted in 149 fatalities and 585 injuries. Most, sadly, don’t make the news anymore.

On Friday, Virginia Beach joined cities such as Aurora, Ill., Thousand Oaks, Calif., and Pittsburgh, Pa., as a site of one of our nation’s deadliest mass shootings. As distressed as I am by these continual and senseless killings, this one hit close to home. Virginia Beach’s Operations Building is less than 5 miles down Princess Anne Road from our Beach campus. Chances are there are colleagues among us who knew one or more of the victims. At least one, Alex Gusev, studied at TCC.

On behalf of the TCC community, I express my sincere sympathy to our friends and partners who work for the City of Virginia Beach. And once again, I have to call upon our faculty and staff to hold the victims and their families in your hearts as we mourn more lives lost.


Get access to resources, events and the latest information about the Virginia Beach Municipal Center shooting here

Three TCC graduates and one former instructor among those who lost their lives in Virginia Beach shooting

Op-Ed: Rethinking how to pay for workforce training

The Virginian-Pilot, Dec. 16, 2018

DURING MY 40-plus years in community colleges, I’ve never seen businesses and lawmakers (from both major parties, I might add) rally around an issue as they have rallied around workforce education.

We’ve all heard the numbers: Just last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that job openings outnumber unemployed Americans by 1 million. Nationwide, 31 million skilled trade jobs will be vacated by baby boomers by 2020. The Department of Education anticipates 68 percent more job openings in skilled trades over the next five years than there are workers trained to fill them.

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