Texas has funded community colleges the same way for nearly 50 years. Why some say it’s time for change.

ACC Welder

Texas public community colleges are funded differently than their four-year counterparts.

“Community colleges were formed by the taxpayers of an area, and so community colleges have tax revenue based on what those voters have approved,” San Jacinto College Chancellor Brenda Hellyer said.

The other two main portions of funding come from tuition and fees, and state appropriations. It’s been that way in Texas for about 50 years.

But Hellyer says it’s that last funding category that’s especially overdue for some rethinking.

“So the allocation between those three different sources has significantly changed,” Hellyer said. “At one point over those 50 years and for quite a bit of that time, community colleges were funded probably 65% from the state. Right now, that allocation is around 24 to 25% across the state for all community colleges. So [that’s] a big change, moving more dollars of the budget to property tax owners and to tuition and fees.”

The primary question facing the brand-new Commission on Community College Finance is whether that allocation currently makes sense.

The commission is made up of community college leaders, including Hellyer, along with lawmakers and business partners. It was created after the passage of SB 1230 in the 87th Texas Legislative session. The commission’s job is to make recommendations on community college funding for the 88th Texas Legislature. It held its first meeting on Monday.


Continue reading via the Texas Standard here.