Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

There are serious cuts in community colleges in the US

Adelina Marini, July 2, 2009

In spite that a lot of analysts say that the US is going out of the recession, the information regarding education speaks about the opposite. The "Washington post" newspaper reports that hundreds of thousands of students are likely to be turned away from low-cost community colleges across the country over the next year because of funding cuts at the very time that record numbers of students are flocking to the open-admission schools. The administration of president Obama is promising to help the country's almost 1,200 community colleges, which educate about 12 million students, or 44 percent of all undergraduates, including the majority of blacks and Hispanics, the paper says, but the biggest problem is that community colleges experience hard times because the state and local municipalities that provide 60% of the funding of the colleges have to cut their expenses because of the recession.

There are colleges that already cut 10% of their expenses, the paper reports. At the same time, high unemployment is driving more people to seek low-cost retraining. And difficult economic times are prompting some parents to send their children to two-year schools rather than more expensive four-year institutions. The result is an unprecedented surge in the number of applicants to community colleges.

Average tuition and fees total about $2,400 per student, compared with the average tuition of $6,600 for in-state public four-year colleges. Another worrying news is that the most vulnerable are the students from minorities.

In Bulgaria all budget institutions get only 90% of their financing which is one of the measures to curb with the crisis. Recently school teachers warned that some schools have already started receiving even less of the financing which might lead to many schools close for the next school year which starts on the 15th of September. The Ministry of Finance said this was not true.

In the mean time the Ministry announced that the data for May show that the budget was not in deficit for May and even realised a surplus of 105 mn lv (50 mn euro). But economists warned a day ago that the months from the beginning of the year, without April, have been in deficit for the budget. A large part of political parties in Bulgaria also say they do not trust the data of the government.