Commission recommends massive overhaul of Texas community college funding system

Texas community colleges should be funded based on student performance, according to a commission made up of state lawmakers, community college leaders and business leaders.

At its last meeting on October 18, the Texas Commission on Community College Finance unanimously endorsed its recommendation to overhaul the state’s complex allocation system and focus primarily on measurable student outcomes. The commission, which was created by the Texas Legislature in 2021, was asked to find a new way to fund community colleges.

Student outcomes include graduation and transfer rates, degrees worth, and degrees earned in high-demand fields.

The commission’s 14-page report breaks down its three main priorities for overhauling the financial system: a shift to student performance-based funding; increased needs-based financial assistance and work-based learning opportunities; and greater investments in college capacity through grants and cross-campus partnerships.

The report includes minor changes to the draft recommendations released in September, which were widely supported by educators and workforce leaders across the state, including the Texas Association of Community Colleges.

The recommendations will be addressed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which is expected to provide a final report to lawmakers by November 1. The council will then draft a bill to present in the 2023 legislative session, which begins on January 10.

Under the existing funding system, each community college district receives a lump sum of approximately $1.3 million, and then state legislators provide additional funding based on enrollment, growth, cost operation, etc.

But schools essentially compete with each other for funding because the system “considers the performance of colleges relative to each other,” according to the commission’s report.

Renzo Soto, political adviser to the nonpartisan think tank Texas 2036, said Community impact that under the existing system, a smaller college can improve outcomes and increase enrollment, while losing funding to a larger school that has grown more.

The new model will allow all 50 community college districts in Texas to “really grow these institutions” with the necessary support, Chairman Woody Hunt told the commission.

“It totally changes the dynamic of being limited and not knowing [a system] that if they invest and supplement, [schools] are going to be rewarded for it,” Hunt said.

According to the report, colleges would be rewarded for their valuable degrees, degrees awarded in high-demand fields, students who successfully transfer to four-year colleges, and high school students who take dual-credit courses toward a college program. or labor. A credential is a post-secondary degree or certificate that prepares a student for economic success.

“To secure the future of our students, our people, and our great state, we must have this educated workforce,” Sen. Larry Taylor said at the meeting. “The best and most effective way to do this is through our community colleges.”

For more information on the commission’s recommendations, see Community impact previous report.

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