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Report: Community Colleges Are Significantly Underfunded

April 25, 2019

A report released today by the Century Foundation calls for more funding for community colleges and better research to estimate the financial needs of two-year institutions.

The foundation, a nonpartisan progressive think tank, recommends that state and federal policy makers begin increasing funding for community colleges in the short term, although more research is needed to determine the precise level of funding needed. The report also recommends that legislators support researchers who are attempting to determine the adequate amount of funding for community colleges. The researchers further recommend that policy makers use that research to help inform their decisions on future funding.

The report, which includes new research by a group of more than 20 education experts, finds community colleges are deeply underfunded even as they are more likely to enroll socioeconomically disadvantaged students than four-year institutions.

​"The lower levels of spending in community colleges -- coupled with the greater needs, on average, in community college student bodies -- is important because research suggests that greater resources are connected to better outcomes for students in higher education," the report said.

The report outlines that community colleges need more financial resources to invest in full-time faculty, extra tutoring, small class sizes, intensive advising and generous financial aid to spur student success.

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Ashley A. Smith

Ashley A. Smith, Reporter, covers community colleges, for-profit schools and non-traditional students for Inside Higher Ed. She joined the publication in 2015 after covering government and K-12 education for the Fort Myers News-Press in Florida for three years. Ashley also covered K-12 and higher education for three years at the Marshfield News-Herald in Wisconsin. She has interned with The Flint Journal, USA Today and the Detroit Free Press. Ashley grew up in Detroit and is a 2008 graduate of Michigan State University. 

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