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Community college budgets cut across U.S. & many turned away even as some want to give college slots to illegal aliens

The Washington Post offers "Workers seek new skills at community colleges, but classes are full" (link) about the budget cuts that community colleges are making across the U.S. and focusing on Nevada. Needless to say, Peter Whoriskey of the WaPo doesn't reveal that even as Americans are being turned away from community colleges, Harry Reid wants to give limited college resources to foreign citizens who are here illegally with the DREAM Act.

In fact, those who'll probably complain the loudest about this situation will likely be DREAM Act supporters; they live in a fantasy world where we have enough college resources for both citizens and for illegal aliens.

On the other hand, making cuts like those described in the article is right up the tea parties/fiscal conservative alley: saving money now no matter the costs down the line.

The pro-American solution would be to enforce our immigration laws and encourage illegal aliens who want to go to U.S. colleges to return home instead. That would have the impact of freeing up jobs and college resources for Americans at the same time as reducing social welfare spending. Don't expect either the Democrats or the teaparty types to support such a plan however in both cases because their leaders are corrupt.

All over the United States, community college enrollments have surged with unemployed and underemployed people seeking new skills.

But just as workers have turned to community colleges, states have cut their budgets, forcing the institutions to turn away legions of students and stymieing the efforts to retrain the workforce.

...The institutions are "a gateway for millions of Americans to good jobs and a better life," President Obama said at a community college summit in the fall.

...Even as community college enrollments have climbed during the recession, 35 states cut higher education budgets last year, and 31 will cut them for next, according to survey data from the National Association of State Budget Officers. Those shortages are expected to worsen next year when federal stimulus money that had plugged holes in state budgets is no longer available.

In California, with a budget cut of 8 percent across the board, the community colleges turned away 140,000 students last year. In Colorado, the waiting lists for nursing programs at some of the state's community colleges have grown to as long as 3.5 years. In May, New York's community colleges stopped accepting applications for the fall semester and added students instead to a wait list.

...Here in Las Vegas, with among some of the nation's highest unemployment, the College of Southern Nevada last fall turned away 5,000 students who sought classes that were filled.

For a single biology class, "BIO 189," a prerequisite for most of the degrees in the popular health-care fields, more than 2,450 students applied for 950 seats. The college now turns away students from every class in biology, the physical sciences and math, said Sally Johnston, dean of the School of Science and Mathematics at the College of Southern Nevada.

...In Virginia, a series of reductions since 2008 has dropped annual state funding for community colleges by $105 million, while enrollment has grown by 26,000 students. In Maryland, state funding per full-time student has dropped 12 percent over the last three years.

Here in Las Vegas, state funding for the College of Southern Nevada has dropped more than 17 percent while the number of students, on a full-time basis, has risen 12 percent. While a federal stimulus bill provided funding to community colleges, that money is about to run out, too.

"In Nevada, we have to accommodate state budget priorities such as Medicare, public safety, including corrections, and K-12 education," [CSN president Michael D. Richards] said. "Higher education comes in fourth or fifth in the list."

To combat the budget cuts, the College of Southern Nevada has increased the proportion of cheaper adjunct faculty, closed two of 11 learning centers in the community, and held classes at midnight to maximize the use of class space.

"Some of the time, we simply do not have enough physical space to accommodate everyone," Richards said.

Other tags: obama education

Sat, 11/27/2010 - 12:58 · Importance: 4