Community colleges in Texas fulfill a number of critical roles in our education system and our local communities.

Texas has 50 different, independent community college districts that deliver academic and workforce-focused  educational opportunities to traditional and non-traditional students, including high school students and adult learners in their communities.

Texas convened the Commission on Community College Finance, as established by 87(R) Senate Bill 1230 to help better resource community colleges in service of meeting employers’ workforce needs, providing value to students, and advancing progress towards state higher education goals. 

  • Throughout 2021 and 2022, the Commission met to discuss relevant issues in community college finance and submitted their report with recommendations to the state legislature in November 2022. Those recommendations are available here

Why we created the tool

To support the work of the Commission, Texas 2036 developed an online, interactive community college finance simulator that allows Texans to identify how funding to two-year community colleges is allocated and what the impacts of potential changes to current policies might be.

The tool helps policymakers investigate policy solutions that strengthen and sustain the state’s community college finance system while highlighting the importance of students’ outcomes.

With the submission of the Commission’s recommendations, Texas 2036 has integrated into the simulator the proposed adjustments the Commission recommends to allow for rapid insight into potential financial impacts.

Our Process

We convened an advisory group of community college leaders and advocates to inform the development of the tool and guide its future capabilities. 

Data Sources

Want to learn how we gathered the data on this project? We breakdown our data sources used to create the Texas 2036 Community College Finance Simulator.

User Guide

Our User Guide offers an overview of some of the key functions of the simulator tool and how you can use the tool to see the impacts of different formula adjustments.

Community College Finance Explained

The funding sources supporting community colleges are often referred to as a “three-legged stool,” as they include three types of funds: state appropriations, tuition and fees, and local tax revenue.

  • State appropriations are awarded based on formulas for community colleges.
  • Tuition and fees are the revenue colleges receive from the payments students make to enroll at each district, and is determined individually by each local college district. 
  • Local tax revenues are provided through local ad valorem, or property,  taxes levied by the respective Governing Board of the 50 Texas community college districts for the maintenance and operation of district facilities and repayment of bonds issued for capital projects.

Community College Finance Report

Our report on leveraging the potential of community colleges in developing the workforce of the future is designed to help address the following findings:

  • Community colleges need better predictability in their funding models to better plan for and align with the state’s higher education and workforce goals.
  • Acknowledging differences in factors like access to local dollars and enrollment size among community college districts can help ensure equitable access to valuable postsecondary opportunities.
  • Community college districts can be better supported in improving student outcomes aligned with meeting state higher education goals and workforce needs.
  • Community colleges can better serve student needs with improved data confirming the value of credential offerings.