Fiscal restraints facing the State of Texas have caused great concern and disappointment to the two-year colleges of this state. Texas decision makers recently cut state appropriations to two-year colleges by 5%. Overall state funding for the 50 two-year college districts was reduced $90 million in spite of the fact that these institutions have experienced double digit enrollment increases the last two years.
Ranger College president, Dr. Bill Campion, said that these cuts are really a double-edge sword since the final year of the biennium is practically over; therefore the cuts really amount to a 10% cut for the coming year.
Seventy-eight percent of the Ranger College budget comes from state funds. Enrollment increased at Ranger College from Spring 2009 to Spring 2010 by almost 66%. Summer enrollment is the largest in the history of the college and the college expects another large increase in their fall enrollment.
Campion stated the belt can only be tightened so far and we have reached that point. The two-year colleges in Texas enroll more than 670,000 students annually which represent some 55% of all people in Texas higher education.
Many people attribute the great success of the two-year college to low tuition while still meeting student demand. Two-year colleges must maintain their great affordability. Campion believes that these cuts came at the worst possible time.
Community colleges represent the future of Texas. Two-year colleges will move the state forward by creating new jobs, training and retraining the workforce and growing the economy. Dr. Campion maintains that Ranger College will do everything possible to meet demand and maintain affordability.