Incentives for community colleges to reach out to the poor, and to serve them well.
Our report, Educating Julio, explained how the community college system selects the students who will be served not only by which districts are allowed to grow their enrollment, but also by which courses and programs the colleges decide to offer, and their systems of scheduling, advising, and outreach. The report, and the online maps we released previously, revealed that some of the neediest neighborhoods and districts in the state are starved for the type of programs that community colleges provide.
The new state budget, signed by Governor Brown on June 20, takes two important steps that follow on the Council’s recommendations. First, supplemental funding for student support – a total of $70 million – will be distributed to districts based on the number of low-income students they enroll as well as the number of students from zip codes where relatively few people have college degrees.
Second, the budget bill requires the Chancellor to develop a new formula for distributing growth money (funding for increasing enrollment), under guidelines that closely follow the unmet need approach we have been advocating. Specifically, the new formula, which would take effect next year, must consider need – adults without degrees as well as rates of unemployment, poverty, and limited English proficiency – compared to the number of student slots already funded. Those districts with the largest gap between need and current funding would be eligible to add the largest number of students. Further, starting in 2016-17, the new formula will give extra credit – the ability to grow faster – to colleges that are effective in serving high-need neighborhoods.