The Effects of Declining Public Support on Student Outcomes in Community Colleges

Hans Johnson, Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)
Belinda Reyes, San Francisco State University

Throughout the nation, states are reducing funding to higher education, but little is known about how these funding cuts have affected student outcomes. This paper studies the impacts of declining public support for higher education in California, with a focus on community colleges, the largest higher education system in the country. In California as elsewhere, a large share of students who eventually earn a bachelor’s degree begin in community colleges. Using rare access to administrative data, we develop a series of longitudinal records for various cohorts of students. We assess how budget reductions have impacted student pathways, focusing on key outcomes including enrollment, transfer, degree completion, and certificate (vocational) completion. Our preliminary finding suggests that the most dramatic impact has been a reduction in access, with declines in enrollment rates. The paper explores which groups of students have been most affected by the reduction in access.

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Presented in Poster Session 4