For many, college offers an avenue to economic
opportunity. However, who can attend and what their
outcomes are during and after college are shaped
by how, and how much, higher education is funded.
Two-year community colleges, which educate millions
of Americans, rely on state governments for much of
their funding. But when state budgets are stressed, as
may result from the pandemic’s downturn, funding cuts
follow. Research presented by Opportunity & Inclusive
Growth Institute affiliate Rajashri Chakrabarti at the
Institute’s spring 2020 conference on higher education shows that increasing state funding of two-year
colleges improves students’ educational and economic
outcomes. Inequities in higher education are not the
only barrier to an inclusive economy, but more funding
would have meaningful benefits for those served by
community colleges, including many students of color
and students from lower-income groups.
If state funding for 2-year public colleges increases by $1,000 per student
tuition per year
Increase in number
of students who go
on to obtain a B.A.
5.5 million Americans enrolled at 2-year public colleges in fall 2018
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