Texas community colleges grapple with budget cuts

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) – Four-year-old Texas universities saw an injection of nearly $ 400 million into their coffers near the end of the legislative session, but the state’s community colleges largely lost.

In total, Texas community colleges have seen their budgets shrink by $ 43 million mainly due to declining enrollment due to the pandemic.

Community colleges receive some of their state funding based on enrollment, and enrollment has declined due to the pandemic.

Central Texas College in Killeen has seen its share of state funds decline by nearly 12%.

That’s about $ 1.5 million each year for the next two years.

However, Bob Liberty, CLC vice chancellor of financial management, told KWTX that the college was in a “very good position.”

That’s because the college cut costs at the start of the pandemic and predicted a decrease in state funds over the past year, even though that did not happen.

“We have become mission critical,” Liberty said.

“If you wanted a new computer just because you thought you needed it, sorry you didn’t get a new one,” he said.

However, the college is still grappling with a drop in enrollment – and it’s not just because of the pandemic.

“The military took a huge hit from COVID and closed its doors; at the same time, they changed all the parameters of their tuition assistance program, ”CTC Chancellor Jim Yeonopolus told KWTX.

“All the colleges that serve the military were affected, and it was huge; it was a huge drop in registrations, ”he said.

The college said it had no plans to increase tuition fees anytime soon, but administration officials said it was constantly re-evaluating the programs it offers and its decisions in relation to it. staffing matters.

“People don’t want to hear this; I know educators don’t want to hear this, but it’s a business, ”Yeonopolus said.

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