BCC Institutes Debt Forgiveness Program

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PITTSFIELD, Mass — Berkshire Community College (BCC) announced its plans to use $335,000 in federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) to erase outstanding balances accrued by students enrolled in credit degree or certificate programs from March 13, 2020 through May 31, 2021. 
 
HEERF funds were earmarked as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
 
Students affected by the program have been informed via letter, which states:
 
"We care about you, and we are committed to doing everything we can to help you continue to meet your educational goals at BCC. We appreciate the challenges of being a college student during the pandemic, and we are here to help you moving forward."
 
Debt forgiveness not only allows students to reapply for admission to BCC, but it also stops attempts from collection agencies and Intercept, a system used by the Commonwealth to attach student debt to tax returns, lottery winnings, etc.
 
"Even small amounts of debt can derail a student's ability to progress through their college career, which will negatively impact their ability to find high-wage employment later in life," said Adam Klepetar, BCC Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. "Getting students to graduation is something we approach holistically, and debt forgiveness aligns with our commitment to equitable student success."
 
While the current debt forgiveness program is specific to the pandemic, Klepetar explained that keeping education affordable has long been a priority at BCC. 
 
"Our strategy has been to provide long-term financial wellness coaching, offer credit courses in financial literacy, and create opportunities for paid internships," he said, noting that a recent gift from Berkshire Bank will help supplement these efforts.
 
To further help students with short-term and long-term financial strategies, BCC has also bolstered its financial coaching team and created cross-divisional alignments through its One Stop Student Success project.
 
For more information about debt or financial aid at BCC, visit www.berkshirecc.edu/financialaid or email onestop@berkshirecc.edu.
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Patrick's Pub For Sale After Almost 40 Years in Business

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The owners of the popular Patrick's Pub, the Powell family, have decided to sell the business after 20 years of running and then owning it.

The decision was announced on the pub's Facebook page on Friday.

"We have been so very lucky to work alongside simply the best people and we have made so many dear friends in our community through the years," the post read. "It hasn’t always been easy, and of course, the decision to sell certainly was an emotional one, but we truly feel this is the right time for us."

Patrick's will remain open for regular business hours.

The eatery at 26 Bank Row is listed for sale at$289,000. The listing is for the business, not the building that it is in.

The selling points that are highlighted include a fully equipped kitchen and ample storage, a prime downtown location surrounded by offices and cultural venues, and the pub's history as "serving happy patrons for almost 40 years."

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