College Funding

Community colleges are coping with major budget deficits, and this section covers how students are being impacted. From local fundraising efforts to federal grants, we’ll explore how community colleges are staying afloat despite funding cuts and cost increases.
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The Movement to Outsource Community College Classes
Outsourcing is commonplace for customer service and software programming, but what about community college instruction? Learn more about the trend that is outsourcing community college classes and teachers.
Outsourcing has become a standard component of a free market system today, with companies heading to outside sources for everything from customer service to health care support. Now community colleges appear to be a part of the outsourcing model, with schools using alternative resources for instruction, curriculum and even grading papers!
Pros and Cons of Outsourcing
A research report from Stanford University, titled "Outsourcing of Instruction at Community Colleges," lists many of the advantages and drawbacks of using outside sources for educating college students. Some of the benefits of the practice include:
  • Outsourcing can lead to more efficient and higher quality education.
  • A standardized curriculum offers consistency in quality.
  • A competitive market usually means a higher quality of product and service.
  • There are cost savings between hiring additional faculty and outsourcing teaching services.
By the same token, opponents of the outsourcing concept cite some of the drawbacks to the practice:
  • Profit-making industries present a conflict of interest with the public goals of colleges.
  • Outsourcing could undermine the tenure-based employment system.
  • The quality of teaching could be lower.
  • There is a lack of control by faculty over curriculum and course design.
While the jury appears to still be out on whether outsourcing is a good idea for community colleges, many schools and companies are proceeding with plans to broaden the scope of higher education through sources outside the mainstream education sector.
This video offers an overview of teaching in a community college.
Remedial Courses from the Private Sector
A recent article on Inside Higher Ed reports
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What Will Happen When Federal Stimulus Funds End? Most Community Colleges Don't Know
Pushed by growing enrollment yet restrained by budget cuts, community colleges face an unknown future in balancing their budgets when federal stimulus funding dollars run dry.
Community colleges have experienced a surge in enrollment, thanks to an economic slowdown that has resulted in fewer graduates being able to afford four-year universities right out of high school. Rising unemployment rates have also contributed to the increased enrollment at these institutions, as laid-off adults head back to school to get training in recession-proof industries.
This trend works well into President Obama's plan to raise graduation rates at colleges across the country over the next few years. However, the increase in students also requires additional funding to accommodate them – which is much easier said than done in the current economic climate. 

Stimulus Funding and Community Colleges

Stimulus money has been a help to many community colleges striving to provide courses and support to the new influx of students. However, stimulus funding is not expected to continue into the next academic year, leaving many institutions floundering for ways to make up the budget shortfall at a time when belts have already been tightened past the comfortable point.
In fact, the large majority of community colleges across the country have absolutely no idea how they will balance their budgets once stimulus funding ends, according to a recent study from The Education Policy Center at the University of Alabama.
According to a report at Inside Higher Ed, the annual survey of state directors of community colleges revealed that only 11 states have a plan in place to balance their budgets once stimulus money is gone. By the
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Budget Crisis: Will Community Colleges Be Declared Financial Emergencies?
Amidst state budget crises, community colleges are constantly looking for ways to cope with reduced budgets, often at the cost of students' pocketbooks.
While students enrolled in community colleges across the country in record numbers, these same campuses are simultaneously facing drastically reduced budgets. Because community colleges receive a large portion of their funds from the state, community colleges in states that are experiencing budget crises are hard hit financially. From California to Maryland, two-year institutions are skating on thin ice financially, and the students are feeling the toll of their states’ budget crises.
This video reports on what to expect with budget cuts.
California: Students Paying More as Community Colleges Deal with Overcrowding
In July 2009, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cut funding to the state’s community colleges by $812 million, writes Dean Murakami in Perspective, the quarterly publication of the Community College Council of the California Federation of Teachers.
Unfortunately, the situation gets worse. Over $1 billion of the budget for January to June 2010 is being deferred until July 2010, the next fiscal year. Murakami writes that this deferral means that many districts will struggle to pay their employees and meet other institutional costs. Additionally, the Community College Council is concerned that the deferred money may end up being cut in order to balance the 2010-2011 budget.
Students at California’s community colleges are feeling the direct results of this budget crisis. Student fees have increased to $26 per unit, and classes and programs are being cut as community colleges scramble to make ends meet with their newly reduced budgets. As Murakami puts it, “Students will
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Are Community College Leaders Entitled to Pay Raises Amidst the Recession?
Despite budgetary cuts, some community colleges are giving their executives pay raises. Learn about the controversy and whether or not these pay raises are justified.
The pandemic of 2020-21 has wreaked havoc on higher education budgets worldwide. Here in the United States, while each state faces its own specific economic setbacks, all community colleges have been forced to endure significant spending reductions and employee lay-offs.  
According to financial experts, community colleges are the most susceptible to these budget cuts, as community college enrollment tends to soar when the economy falters.  In fact, Wake Technical Community College, one of many North Carolina institutions, experienced a 14 percent increase in student enrollment from just last year alone!  Considering that public educational institutions subsidize the actual cost of teaching students, the increased enrollment puts greater financial demands on the campus at a time when their budgets are being slashed. 
With soaring enrollment rates, college leaders fear that they will not be able to provide students with the ideal resources, smaller class sizes, and one-on-one time with instructors.  Yet, in spite of these national concerns, some leaders are still raking in higher salaries—regardless of their school’s budgetary shortfalls. 
Ron Polaneczky writing in The Philadelphia Inquirer notes that "according to a recent survey conducted by his organization, the compensation of public community-college presidents range from $81,000 to $390,000, not including extra benefits for housing and car expenses.  The size of the salary is influenced by the size of the school, its location and the number of its students and employees."
Community College Pay Raises: Justified or Unfair? 
While a number of community college leaders have accepted salary increases,
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Community College Curriculum: Drastically Changed by Today's Economy
Learn about how today's economy has impacted community college curriculum, increased occupational programs, and grown specific career-preparation courses.

The current economy's influence has permeated the educational realm much further than simple budget cuts. In fact, the community college curriculum may be permanently changed by today's economy.

A rising number of community colleges are shifting their traditional curriculum in order to face local job loss challenges. For example, Michigan's community colleges are changing their course offerings to retrain thousands of unemployed auto workers. Each community college campus is restructuring its curriculum to more accurately meet the needs of the local economy.
The Changes in Local Curriculum
From California to New York, community colleges are tailoring their comprehensive educational programs to more specialized, technical pathways. For example, Macomb Community College, located in Michigan, has seen its occupational therapy program grow tremendously, especially as local Michigan residents formerly employed by the auto industry look to redefine their skill set. Some of these curriculum changes are even spurred by government encouragement; at Stony Brook community college, the government subsidizes a project management program to help retrain unemployed individuals for the computer services industry.
According to Suffolk County Community College in Long Island, NY, "We are out in the trenches on a daily basis...doing everything we can to try to be ground zero of impacting change for individuals looking to get new skills." This sentiment is quickly spreading throughout the entire country's community colleges, which are working to meet the needs of today's economy.
Metropolitan Community College (MCC), located in Omaha, Nebraska, has recently made headlines with its innovative
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