Proposed $1 Billion Funding to California Community Colleges

Nico Triunfante, TSV Staff Writer

$1 billion of funding for California’s community colleges has been proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown in January 2014.

Since 2010, student enrollment into California community colleges has dropped by 15 percent. The increasing high price point per unit, along with the costs of books, both factor towards the decreasing enrollment percentage.

According to a summary of the governor’s proposal of the 2014-2015 state budget, Scott Lay, President of the Community College League of California, a nonprofit association for community college districts in the state, says that the proposed budget invests in student access, success, and equity; the core principles of community colleges.

Lay says that of the $1 billion being funded, $592 million will go toward replacing deferred funding from the state, $155 million is for increased enrollment, $100 million for the Student Success and Support Program, $100 million to close the achievement gap of poor and minority students, and $87 million a piece for instructional equipment and maintenance.

On the other hand, this funding means that there will be more opportunities for student enrollment, more available classes, and more counselors or professors, if required.

If passed, Gov. Brown looks for a 3 percent growth enrollment for the community colleges. According to his proposal, this funding is to serve the community’s higher educational needs and, over time, will be fully restored to prerecession admission levels.

However, according to Masao Suzuki, Head Economics Professor at Skyline College, the school will not directly be affected by the governor’s possible funding since it is a self-supportive school.

“For Skyline College and the San Mateo District, we are what is called a self supporting or self sufficient district, which means our funding mainly or almost all comes from local property taxes and student fees,” said Suzuki. “We don’t actually get that much money from the state.”

Skyline will get a couple things if the governor’s budget is approved. The money will help categorical funding, meaning it will be directed towards students of specific groups, including Student Success Initiative, EOPS, the Learning Center, and the Disabled Resource Center, just to name a few.

Additionally, the possible funding will go toward educational equipment and deferred maintenance.

Although Skyline students will not have the same amount of help from the governor’s possible funding as other California community colleges, students still believe that it is beneficial for the rest of California’s students.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Skyline College student Natasha Domingo said. “I know books are really expensive and a lot of people need help with paying for that.”

Students that will be affected by the possible funding will benefit from it the most.

“I think what he’s doing is good for students that can’t afford to go to college,” Laura Parada, a Skyline College student said. “For me, I have financial aid and EOPS, and it’s good for me because it’s saving me money. More help will be good for future students.”