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.
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
|Community Colleges||2013-15 Total Funding||2015-17 total||Percent Change|
The Higher Education Coordinating Commission