The 2015 Regular Session of the Texas Legislature did not produce much relief in terms of revenue for the state's community colleges. A combination of enrollment declines and other contingencies resulted in a situation that necessitated local tax and tuition increases at many institutions.
In fact, at some schools, "the state is no longer the main source of revenue for community colleges," according to an article in the Amarillo Globe-News, reported by Enrique Rangel. This is an interesting observation. In Days of Yore, according to a well-touted Master Plan in the 70s, the state said it would pay all instructional costs, with local funds devoted largely to physical infrastructure. Well, state appropriations never achieved so-called Full Formula Funding, but it came close a few times long ago. Now such an argument would get hooted out of the room.
Much of the article concerns the situation at Amarillo College, but other school officials and lawmakers are quoted in the piece.
In spite of all this, based on testimony at a recent hearing, and interviews with key policy makers for the article, the House and Senate plans to provide additional support to two-year colleges in 2017.
Here is one key passage, but please read the whole piece:
According to the Texas Association of Community Colleges, in the fall of 2014 the schools educated nearly 700,000 students, or 47 percent of all college and university students in Texas, including private institutions and graduate schools.
Texas Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes, who requested an extra $160 million for the community college system, said the schools need additional funding to keep up with the growing number of students who intend to transfer to four-year institutions.
“As the number of poor students coming through the K-12 system think about going to college, more and more are making the determination that they can’t afford four years of university,” Paredes told the lawmakers. “So they are planning, very intentionally, to go to community colleges for two, three years, before transferring to a university.”
Please visit with your representatives while they are "at home" in the districts prior to January.