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Funding, Demand Pressure Community Colleges


      Community college tuition is rising because more students are enrolled at a time when the colleges are getting less state and federal money, the president of the American Association of Community Colleges says.

      “We’ve had this tremendous enrollment increase,” George Boggs told a national conference this week. “Colleges have had to try figure out how to accommodate this increased enrollment pressure, and at the same time they’re getting fewer resources.”

      With the demands of the war on terror and dealing with natural disasters, there will be less federal and state money for community colleges.

      Boggs said proposed federal funding cuts will hurt tight community college budgets.

      The average tuition at community colleges has increased 20 percent nationally during the past three years, he told the 2005 Combase conference.

Short for community-based education, Combase is a national organization founded in 1974 and is comprised of presidents and other leaders of community colleges.

      “The community college and technical college mission has never been more important to the future of our country than it is now,” said the organization’s president Pamela Transue.

      She said about a third of the U.S. work force lacks a high school diploma and so are qualified for only 20 percent of the jobs in this country.

      Boggs warned that federal budget cuts hurt the workers needed most during this time of worries about homeland security and natural disasters.

      Community colleges educate almost 80 percent of those who respond first in emergencies such as police and firefighters, he said.

      Boggs said that, as tuition increases at four-year colleges, some students turn to community colleges, which adds to enrollment pressures.

—Associated Press

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