Political Internship - Proposal

Community Colleges

With the current education stagnation, increasing unemployment rates, and tuition increases at four - year universities, many students are choosing the community college route to prepare for a more advanced education or adulthood. Every state grants community colleges as a stair-step method to higher education. However, each state varies on how they make use of these institutions. This semester I will be conducting an analysis on the structure of the community college systems from the four most populous states in the United States (California, Florida, New York, and Illinois) and additionally Michigan. I will compare and contrast their systems with the system and programs that we have currently in Texas. The community college system\'s from each state will be monitored on their mission, governance, funding, and accountability and will be charted through a data prototype. This will ultimately help make recommendations on how Texas can make improvements in our higher education as well.
The enrollment rates aren\'t going to tell the whole story. The condition of the institution, the amount of programs offered, and the financial sustainability of the college will need to be taken into consideration when evaluating each state\'s performance. More specifically I would focus on three or four colleges within each state and research how the law of that district relates to the funding of each college. By comparing the laws, I will dive into detail on how the community colleges receive funding from the state and local governments. I will also answer the questions how this particular college I am researching in each area relates to their service area and taxing district. I believe the only way to understand how to better our system is to look through the lens of systems within other states. There is an encyclopedia I was presented to at the Legislative Reference Library called "Fifty State Systems of Community Colleges" that outlines a clear comprehension of how community colleges in each state have achieved success in their departments.
I am interning at the State Capitol under Senator Kolkhorst and her team, and this research analysis is relevant to the interim charges we recently published along with the bills that are going to be proposed in next session. Education is the biggest part of the state of Texas\' budget, and Senator Kolkhorst and her team are actively pursuing many educational issues that we may learn from other similarly designed states. This research analysis is extremely relevant to states with a strong community college platform and will lead to students completing a degree, furthering their chances for a high paying job, and boosting the economic advancement within each state.