MACo to Budget Leadership: Fully Fund Community Colleges

Montgomery County Council Member Craig Rice and Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Jack Wilson, MACo’s Education Subcommittee Chair and Vice Chair, sent a letter to Budget and Taxation Chair Guy Guzzone and Appropriations Chair Maggie McIntosh asking them to prioritize funding community colleges during their consideration of the state budget.

For the first time ever, the Senator John A. Cade Funding formula used to calculate the allowance for community colleges has achieved a longstanding policy goal of full funding, as proposed by in the 2022 budget introduced by Governor Larry Hogan for the General Assembly’s consideration. This means that the percentage tie calculation is funded at 29% of the per full-time- equivalent student provided to the select public four-year institutions.

When the Cade Funding formula was established in 1996, the policy goal was to achieve an equitable distribution of State support to all public institutions of higher education. Considering all sources of funding and the types of educational programs that are offered, the policy was established that 29% of funding per student would be equitable for community colleges.

Leadership on MACo’s Education Subcommittee reached out to the budget chair leaders urging them to consider community college funding and other priorities as they take up the state budget proposed for the upcoming fiscal year.

MACo submitted the letter ahead of this week’s budget committee hearings on aid to community colleges.

From the letter:

Achieving this goal is more than just receiving an increase − it is a recognition that students enrolled in our community colleges deserve the same level of support as the public universities. Notably, community colleges have a challenging mission to serve Maryland’s diverse mix of students with the highest level of financial need, as Pell Grant recipients (a proxy for high need). When community colleges are reduced from this percentage tie, the State is creating an inequity and hurting some of Maryland’s most vulnerable students.

The fully funded calculation comes as community colleges need it more than ever to help our communities rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic. We need our community colleges to provide instruction in several critical workforce shortage areas such as allied health, construction trades, business, and several other critical shortage fields. Research continues to demonstrate Maryland is underproducing in the skills needed by employers in these categories.

Read the full letter.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for the latest on community college funding.