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Keeping colleges running

Higher education funding is an option for state legislators

Posted: January 10, 2009 8:40 p.m.
Updated: January 11, 2009 4:59 a.m.
 
When it comes to funding community colleges, state legislators have a choice.

While the state is required to provide funding for every child to go to school, higher education funding is not mandated.

"There are some major differences between how higher education is funded in California and how K-12 is funded," said Sue Bozman, spokeswoman for College of the Canyons.

"The legislature and governor have a choice how much to fund and how many students to fund," she said.

College officials agree, however, that underfunding the state's colleges might actually slow economic recovery.

Community colleges are designed to be the "workforce training entity in our state," COC Chancellor Dianne Van Hook said.

"It is a well-documented fact that when California's economy is in trouble, enrollments at the California community colleges increase dramatically so that people can get the education and training they need," she said. "With this training, residents learn new job skills so they can get back to work, make money, pay their mortgages, and contribute to the local and state economy."

Van Hook said community colleges are best suited to carry out the upcoming federal economic stimulus program.

And until a state budget is approved, COC will continue operating with its current district budget.

When the time comes, Van Hook said the school will address whatever financial issue arises with innovation.

Until then, they will conduct business as usual.

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