Community colleges in Texas fulfill a number of critical roles in our education system and our local communities, including providing technical and vocational programs, general arts and science courses, continuing adult education and training, adult literacy programs, compensatory education allowing for enrollment of disadvantaged students, and workforce development programs. Texas has 50 different, independent community college districts that deliver these educational opportunities to traditional and non-traditional students, including high school and career-transition students in their communities. Texas community colleges enrolled nearly 750,000 students in 2019 and saw only a modest decline during the pandemic to enrollment of over 670,000 students in 2020.
Texas is convening the Commission on Community College Finance, as established by 87(R) Senate Bill 1230 to help answer this question. Between now and November 2022, the Commission will meet to discuss relevant issues in community college finance and submit a report with recommendations to the state legislature. More information on past meetings of the Commission is available here.
To support the work of the Commission, Texas 2036 has 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 will help stakeholders investigate policy solutions that strengthen and sustain the state’s community college finance system while highlighting the importance of students’ outcomes. As the Commission’s discussions unfold, Texas 2036 aims to integrate into the simulator proposed adjustments the Commission is considering to allow for rapid insight into potential financial impacts of the proposals.