Briefing Raises Balance of County/State Support for Community Colleges

CC funding
From the testimony of Dr. Jennie C. Hunter-Cevera, Acting Secretary of High Education, to the Senate Budget and Taxation Subcommittee for Education, Business and Administration and the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Education and Economic Development. March 5 & 6, 2015.


County contributions to community colleges were noted several times during the The Department of Legislative Services briefing on Aid to Community Colleges. First, the analyst noted that if the State does not increase its support for community colleges, there will be little incentive for county governments to maintain or increase their support. The Governor’s proposed budget decreases State support for 10 community colleges. As described,

This is concerning because local jurisdictions must maintain or increase local support to community colleges for their respective institutions to receive increases in State support including hold harmless grants. If the State backs away from maintaining its support, the local jurisdictions may also reduce support to community colleges because they have nothing to gain by maintaining support.

Acting Secretary of Higher Education Hunter-Cevera presented another angle on the state-county partnership in community college funding, however.  In her testimony, the Secretary described how much less funding the State provides for community colleges in Maryland than is provided in other states, at the same time revealing the disproportionately large role county governments hold in community college funding in Maryland. From the testimony,

Table 1 shows significant differences in the way that Maryland and its competitor states balance revenues across different categories.  Maryland is unique in that it distributes revenues participation relatively evenly across students, the state, local authorities and other revenue sources. . . Three states–Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Virginia — generate less than 1% of their revenues from local sources.Six of the 11 states –North Carolina, Massachusetts, Washington, Minnesota, California, and Virginia — provide 40% or more of non-federal community college revenues.

According to the Maryland Association of Community Colleges, Maryland counties provided 30% of community college revenues in FY2014, while the State provided 28% and students provided 40% through tuition and fees.

For more information, read the full Department of Legislative Services analysis here and here is a link to the Secretary’s full testimony.