Proposed Cuts to Community Colleges
While Governor Brown’s plan calls for a slight increase in base funding to alleviate some of the funding deferrals enacted in recent years, it presupposes California voters will approve statewide tax increases placed on the November ballot. Without the increased revenue from taxes, community colleges would again be subjected to automatic mid-year cuts. The proposed cuts total $482.3 million.
The Potential Impact of Continued Cuts
If community college spending is reduced again in 2012-13, it would mark the third time in four years that California has chosen to disinvest in higher education.
- Between 2009 and now, California Community Colleges have been cut by a total of $1 billion.
- At College of the Canyons, our share has been $10.6 million.
- Another round of cuts in 2012-13 will mean a drop in revenue of $3.5 million for College of Canyons. Another cut of this magnitude will directly impact our ability to meet student needs at a time of surging enrollment.
What It Means For Our Students
Put in more concrete terms, $10.6 million equals 2,322 full-time equivalent students (FTES), or 774 course sections each capable of serving 30 students. These courses are needed now more than ever as our students seek affordable options to retrain for new careers, or complete the classes they need to transfer.
- In the last three years, we have seen a 28 percent increase in the number of new students applying to College of the Canyons, yet we are turning away thousands of students.
- While 62 percent of students were able to get classes in Fall 2008, that percentage declined to 42.5 percent in Fall 2011.
- Of the new students who applied to COC in Fall 2011, 5,650 were not able to register for any classes.
- The college had 10,024 waitlisted student enrollments in Fall 2011.
- This represents almost 22 percent of the total enrollment.
- In other words, we would have to increase the number of sections we offer by more than 20 percent to meet the needs of just those on our waitlists!
- Our waitlists are capped at 10 slots. If they weren’t, the number of students would likely be double.
What It Means For Our State
If current funding trends persist, the Public Policy Institute of California estimates by 2025 California will face a shortage of 1 million college degree and certificate holders needed to fuel its workforce.
Every student kept out of College of Canyons because of budget cuts is a future member of the workforce who is delayed entry into a career.
The economic return on investment in California’s higher education infrastructure is a win-win for the state and its taxpayers. For every $1 California spends on higher education, it receives $3 in return. Conversely, for every $1 dollar not spent on higher education, the state loses $3 in future revenue.