Following a recent decision to pause enrollment after the Spring semester, students still enrolled at the Easter Gateway Community College and aren't expected to graduate will need to find a new college during the Summer and Fall semesters.

According to a news release from the Ohio Department of Higher Education Youngstown State University (YSU) recently began working with Eastern Gateway and the Ohio Department of Higher Education on backup plans to ensure academically eligible students are able to enroll at YSU or collaborating community colleges to complete their degrees.

“We have a plan to ensure students finish this semester as normal,” said Jim Gasior, chair of Eastern Gateway’s Board of Trustees. “And while we pause registration for the summer and beyond, Youngstown State University primarily and community colleges from throughout the region have offered to welcome our students..."

Ohio community colleges that Eastern Gateway students can enroll at include Stark State College, Belmont College, Washington State College of Ohio, Cuyahoga Community College, and Hocking College.

YSU will coordinate with the Ohio Department of Higher Education to advise Eastern Gateway students on the best pathway to continue their education, according to the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

Due to ongoing financial issues, Eastern Gateway Community College has paused student enrollment for their college following its current semester- which ends in May.

The college's board of trustees unanimously approved the motion to pause enrollment during a special meeting held this afternoon.

According to the resolution, this decision was made because of issues in part due to a pause of federal funding going to the school.

The pause in enrollment is meant to give the board time to explore financial options.

"Eastern Gateway has recently been subject to a process known as heightened cash monitoring through the U.S. Department of Education. This has delayed typical flows of federal funding to the college, creating diminished cash flow," the statement from the Ohio Department of Higher Education reads. "Due to the uncertainty of funding beyond this semester, Eastern Gateway has made the prudent decision to pause student registration until this process is resolved."

Today's announcement has come as a complete surprise to the staff and faculty as it is feared that the school's future is now in limbo, according to Jim Corrin the Eastern Gateway Community College Union President.

"We're disappointed by today's news," Corrin tells 21 News. "Our staff and faculty have given their lives to this institution...A lot of our union members found out about this decision through the news. There was no announcement about this decision sent out."

Corrin says the Union is trying to figure out what exactly the does "pause" mean when it comes to the faculty, staff and most importantly the students that do go to the college.

"Does this mean we're fired at the end of the semester? Does this mean the school closes down in the summer? How long will the pause be for?" Corrin said. "The Youngstown area needs a community college."

This continues the long saga of financial problems that have followed the community college into 2024.

During a meeting held Jan. 17, the college's board of trustees approved a resolution to reduce the number of staff positions at the college by 28 due to a dramatic fall in student enrollment.

In July of 2022, the DOE ordered EGCC to stop dispersing Federal Pell Grant money to any new students enrolling in the Free College Benefit Program until it was redesigned.

The DOE determined EGCC was waiving tuition and fees for students in excess of Title IV funds. For students not receiving Title IV funds, the entire tuition and fees were waived. They say that resulted in Title IV students being charged for their education and non-Title IV students not being charged, which violates Title IV requirements.