Schools serving low-income, minority students hardest hit by state budget cuts
- PBS NewsHour examines the growing trend of state budget cuts in higher education and reveals startling trends about the specific harm to community colleges and open-access institutions primarily serving minority and low-income students.
- According to one study, more than 50% of Hispanic and black students attending community college as first-generation enrollees received just over $10,000 in average per student spending from in 2013, which is down more than $500 since 2008. Large public institutions have increased per-student spending by more than $400 over the same period, and average more than $17,000 annually.
- Community and historically black colleges, some experts says, do the heavy lifting of student remediation and career training for the most vulnerable student populations, but are receiving the harshest consequences in a shifting economy.
This research counters much of the information suggesting that higher education spending is on the rise, and particularly in community colleges where several states are examining the possibilities of free tuition for students. But even with these gaps in what investment does and does not look like from state funding, college leaders must still make the case for investment by sharing data on job placement, advanced degree access and economic impact with lawmakers.
Education is a centerpiece of social reform in reducing poverty and reversing the effects of broken secondary systems. For many states, particularly in the south, open access colleges are the new vocational and technical training grounds that were once in high schools but have been limited or eliminated by budget cuts. It is up to these schools to explain these realities to legislatures, and to showcase the metrics of success for a wide range of students.