Monday, February 16, 2009

Will Community Colleges Beneft from the Stimulus

Some interesting thoughts, from Kevin Carey,  on Community Colleges, the economy, and the stimulus. Brainstorm: Save Community Colleges
Despite the fact that the economy is shedding half a million jobs per month, the “moderate” approach to stimulus in Congress appears to involve rejecting aid to state and local governments and thus ensuring pro-cyclical cuts in public employment. As a result, education budgets are sure to suffer, and there’s a strong case that no institutions are more vulnerable than community colleges, which get short-changed in the public budgeting process when times are good and don’t have endowments and other diverse revenue streams to fall back on now. With crumbling, outdated facilities, many community colleges are ill-equipped to handle the surge of new students who will arrive seeking refuge and retraining as job losses mount. Mid-career workers with families facing sudden, unexpected unemployment aren’t going to enroll full time in their state’s four-year residential flagship university, which probably wouldn’t admit them in the first place. Yet the unbalanced power dynamic in most states is such that economically well-off students in the flagships will get more protection, even though they’re already receiving far more public support than their less advantaged peers in public two-year institutions.

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