Government Internship
Comparing Community Colleges

Community colleges in the United States are primary institutions in providing a stepping-stone to a student\'s career path. In one of the most recent studies, the National Center for Educational Services concluded that over 40% of students enter community college post high school education. This higher education is structured diversely across the nation. There are specific special districts that hold these community colleges and are funded by local property tax revenue. The overarching law that sparked the community college controversy is Obama\'s America\'s College Promise to make community college free to citizens of the United States. Within this proposition, each state has specific laws that govern their colleges, and I have been researching and comparing the different specific laws and how it relates to the quality of their institutions.
Community Colleges receive their funding from three specific areas that include: tax payers, state government, and tuition. Each state pulls money from the each of the three different areas in various amounts. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, California relies on state government funding with 51%, property taxes with 28%, and tuition and fees with the lowest of 7%. Florida depends on state government funding the most with 59%, student tuition with 25%, and almost no dependence on property tax (<1%). However, Illinois is the most balanced with local property taxes with 33%, tuition and fees with 20%, and state government taxes with 29%.
Even though California has the largest system of higher education in the United States, it is also the most cost efficient system as well. California went through a recession but is bouncing back from it with incredible poise. In their 2015-2016 budget, $141.7 million would be funded to community colleges. Florida does not have access to local tax revenue, so that is why they depend the most on state funding.
A shift is coming for the student to cover more of the fees since less money is being appropriated from the state. As I mentioned earlier, Texas and many other states produce revenue from the taxing districts settled by their local communities. With the battle of these two factors, these districts have increased their property taxes. Within the start of the millennium, revenues from local property taxes outweighed revenue from state appropriations. However from my research of past trending of funding in Texas, our state has not lived up to its agreements or funding goals in over 50 years. The issue with the revenue shares being almost split in half is that all the community college districts across Texas don\'t have similar avenues in order to receive this money. The districts that have a developing property tax have an advantage over the smaller areas that are now going to have to charge their students more in fees. What I learned from this study is that the common ground needs to come from funding from the state. Over the years Texas has reversed policy changes to a more traditional procedure that is actually hurting the community college system. It is up to the state to take a more prominent role in funding these institutions for the future.