Austin, TX – The Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) is pleased to welcome two new directors to the association's leadership team.
Jacob Cottingham will serve as the new Senior Director of Government Relations for TACC. Mr. Cottingham will help develop and implement legislative policy goals and strategies for the association and monitor legislation and regulatory changes relevant to Texas community colleges. In addition, as a key member of TACC's advocacy team, Jacob will build critical relationships between TACC member colleges and policymakers.
"We are very excited to welcome Jacob to the advocacy team at TACC. He brings a strong background in legislative relations, and I am confident his expertise will help our message resonate on Capitol grounds," says Dr. William Serrata, TACC Board Chair and President at El Paso Community College.
In February 2020, Comptroller Glenn Hegar rebooted his Good for Texas Tour by highlighting the impact of Texas community colleges. The comptroller estimated that, with 700,000 students, community colleges contributed about $9.8 billion annually to the Texas economy and that the higher pay for individuals with some college or an associate degree raised annual wages by more than $27 billion.
The global pandemic has upended learning on college campuses across our state, challenging students’ pursuit of post-secondary degrees in profound ways. Preliminary data shows community college enrollment may have dropped by about 85,000 students (up to 12%) since fall 2019. Although this dip will adversely affect generations of incoming students, community colleges must continue to rise to the challenge of meeting the needs of our students and employers in communities across Texas.
It bothers me when people think of community college as a second-tier option or backup plan. Whether straight out of high school or after a long break from education, community college is a place where hundreds of thousands of Texans go to work toward their dreams. As a new Commission on Community College Finance meets at the Texas Capitol to take a fresh look at how our state funds community colleges, I encourage appointed members to listen to the stories and suggestions of students like me so that others can thrive as I have.
Graduating from high school, I was already living alone trying to make my way through life. I got into a four-year college and began a major in behavioral neuroscience. I took 16 hours of classes each week on top of my full-time job. Even stretching myself so thin, I loved what I was doing. I worked hard and knew that every action I took was in service of my
A newly formed state commission created to address the funding of community colleges will be the first to undertake the effort in nearly 50 years.
Created during the 87th Texas Legislature by state Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, the Commission on Community College Finance is a 12-member group tasked with making recommendations about the state’s funding formula for community colleges ahead of the 88th Texas Legislature in 2023.
El Pasoan Woody Hunt, the commission’s presiding officer, was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott. The rest of the commission is composed of two state senators, two state representatives and community members.
“I think the role of the commission is to go through a process that creates credibility around our recommendations so that we can convince the Legislature, and the executive branch, that these policies are worth investing in,” Hunt said.
The funding formula for Texas’ 50 community college districts has stayed virtually the same since 1973, while the state’s share of two-year schools’ total budgets has steadily declined from nearly two-thirds to less than one-quarter at a time when an ever-greater percentage of employment requires postsecondary education.
And despite the state’s breakneck 16% population growth during the 2010s, more than half of Texas counties (143 out of 254) lost population, affecting local tax bases that fund community colleges, which can vary widely, from as little as 2% to as much as 70% of a college’s total budget.
To attempt to solve this puzzle, the state legislature established the Commission on Community College Finance, comprising 12 community college administrators, business leaders and other stakeholders who are well-grounded in the mission, programs and finances of public two-year