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(September 21, 2020 11:21 AM) Jackson College today announced the decision to discontinue operations at the College Flight Center at the Jackson County Airport, effective after this fall 2020 semester.

The following is a statement from Jeremy Frew, vice president of academics and student services:

 “Due to a couple of recent developments presented to Jackson College, the Leadership Council made the very difficult decision to discontinue the aviation program. The program has been deeply affected by persistent dwindling enrollment, due in part to the fact that JC is eligible to offer only basic instruction that leads to a private pilot license, rather than the commercial license necessary for employment. However, in an attempt to keep the program viable for the community, Jackson College entered into an agreement a few years ago with Solo Aviation of Ann Arbor to assume responsibility for all flight activities, including owning and maintaining the planes, and maintaining the hangar at the Jackson County Airport, while Jackson College employed a faculty member to teach ground school. However, very low enrollment has continued resulting in Solo Aviation notifying Jackson College that they would not renew the agreement effective Aug. 1, 2020, leaving Jackson College without the means of flight instruction at the Jackson County Airport.

“In addition, the Jackson College faculty member responsible for teaching ground school submitted his resignation effective December 2020. Unfortunately, the College budget, greatly impacted by COVID-19, does not support the resources necessary to continue the aviation program in its current state. The College will reach out and work with any student who has started their pursuit of the private pilot license with JC to help them reach their goal.”

College administration has had several conversations over the past six weeks with donors, the airport director, and board chair. The College does own the Flight Center building, which has been appraised and has given the airport the opportunity to purchase it prior to responding to interested private buyers.  

Ground school classes are currently underway but will not continue after the fall semester. Any student with questions may contact Student Services, 517.796.8425.

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