Pennsylvania’s community colleges continue to step up, as they have done for 50 years, to the Commonwealth’s need for an affordable pathway to the middle class for nearly 500,000 Pennsylvanians, as well as serving as a critical resource for job training for thousands of employers and thousands of incumbent and unemployed workers.
This is the fourth consecutive budget presented by the Governor that has not recognized the vital need for increased operating investment in community colleges. The lack of necessary investment has already threatened access and college affordability for too many and has stifled the ability of colleges to respond to important business and industry needs. Community colleges cannot continue to manage the ongoing erosion of state investment in operating funds without harming citizens most in need of our programs. It will be nearly impossible for our community colleges to continue to meet our mission of affordable and accessible higher education that is of high quality for transfer and workforce responsiveness.
At Montgomery County Community College, the current State contribution of operating dollars does not even match what we received eight years ago.
I look forward to hearing more about the Ready to Succeed program the Governor proposed; however, I am disappointed by the Governor’s lack of recognition of the value of our colleges. States across this Country are recognizing the economic return gained by investing in their community colleges. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is not among these states.