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Community College Funding Up, Possible Formula Changes Coming


Oregon’s community colleges are seeing double-digit funding increases for the upcoming school year, thanks to a bump in state spending and a rise in property tax collections. But it may be the last time colleges receive funding under the current funding formula.

Lawmakers agreed to spend nearly $550 million on community colleges over the next two years. That’s up nearly $80 million, over the previous biennium.  

Students from around the state gathered outside the State Capital Building on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 to rally for an increase in public spending toward higher education.

Students from around the state gathered outside the State Capital Building on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 to rally for an increase in public spending toward higher education.

Alan Sylvestre/OPB

Oregon colleges also benefited from a $33 million increase in local property taxes.

The largest college in Oregon, Portland Community College, saw combined local and state funding jump more than 20 percent. Central Oregon, Chemeketa and Oregon Coast community colleges saw similar increases.  

The differences in funding vary based on local property values and based on student enrollment.

Umpqua Community College saw a steep decline in enrollment and lost money as a result. 

Community college funding based on number of students is similar to the way Oregon’s public schools get money. Possibly as soon as fall 2016, community colleges could receive state money based more on outcomes.

Public universities started getting money that way this year. But rewarding outcomes can be complicated for community colleges.  

Ben Cannon, executive director of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, notes that students often attend part time or transfer before earning degrees.

“That’s why any change to the funding formula needs to be made incrementally and that acknowledges that certificates and degrees doesn’t represent the entirety of the equation,” he said.  

Cannon says the new formula would also direct money to community colleges doing a good job with minority and low-income students.

Oregon Community College Funding

Oregon community colleges will receive an average increase in funding of 14.4 percent for the next two years.

Community Colleges 2013-15 Total Funding 2015-17 total Percent Change
Blue Mountain $18,188,384 $21,100,000 16.0%
Central $41,510,031 $50,000,000 20.5%
Chemeketa $87,817,368 $104,800,000 19.3%
Clackamas $58,236,863 $63,100,000 8.4%
Clatsop $11,310,809 $13,100,000 15.8%
Columbia Gorge $9,809,648 $10,800,000 10.1%
Klamath $13,553,256 $15,900,000 17.3%
Lane $96,142,332 $103,600,000 7.8%
Linn Benton $50,227,585 $53,400,000 6.3%
Mt. Hood $70,063,595 $79,400,000 13.3%
Oregon Coast $5,152,011 $6,100,000 18.4%
Portland $196,451,976 $236,900,000 20.6%
Rogue $39,783,348 $46,200,000 16.1%
Southwestern $22,507,903 $25,700,000 14.2%
Tillamook Bay $4,243,625 $5,000,000 17.8%
Treasure Valley $16,761,783 $18,900,000 12.8%
Umpqua $28,097,260 $27,300,000 -2.8%

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission

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