The leaders of Pennsylvania’s 14 public community colleges are applauding Gov. Wolf’s 2016-17 budget proposal, which recommends increased operating funds for the colleges over current levels. The additional funding will help the colleges to serve the educational and workforce needs of their communities and preserve access to higher education.
Last year, Pennsylvania’s community colleges served nearly 314,000 students from every county in Pennsylvania, and conferred 16,071 awards – 55 percent of them in STEM fields.
“Pennsylvania’s community colleges are key providers of higher education and workforce training in our communities. The $22.1 million increase in funding proposed by Governor Wolf would help to ensure that community college remains accessible and affordable for Pennsylvanians,” said Tom Leary, President of Luzerne County Community College and Board Chair of the PA Commission for Community Colleges. “We look forward to working together with the Wolf Administration and the General Assembly to pass a budget that includes increased funding for Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges.”
Gov. Wolf’s budget recommends a total of $237.773 million in funding for community college operations. Community college capital funding is expected to remain stable. The proposed funding would begin to reverse both the effects of the dramatic cut in funding to the colleges in the 2011-12 fiscal year, and the effects of years of funding that has failed to keep pace with inflation.
“Gov. Wolf’s budget proposal is a step in the right direction for community college funding,” said Elizabeth Bolden, President & CEO of the PA Commission for Community Colleges. “Investing in community colleges is a valuable strategy for the Commonwealth to grow economic development, workforce training and access to a quality, affordable education in Pennsylvania.”For more information, visit the PA Commission for Community Colleges website.