As State Funds Dry Up, Many Community Colleges Rely More on Tuition Than on Taxes to Get By

As State Funds Dry Up, Community Colleges Uncharacteristically Turn to Tuition Income to Get By 1

Brett Flashnick for The Chronicle

With state aid for colleges in South Carolina falling fast, Marshall (Sonny) White Jr., president of Midlands Technical College, has planned for operating without any public funds at all. "We had been told by some legislators, ... 'You ought to be prepared.'"

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close As State Funds Dry Up, Community Colleges Uncharacteristically Turn to Tuition Income to Get By 1

Brett Flashnick for The Chronicle

With state aid for colleges in South Carolina falling fast, Marshall (Sonny) White Jr., president of Midlands Technical College, has planned for operating without any public funds at all. "We had been told by some legislators, ... 'You ought to be prepared.'"

Community colleges have traditionally been the most public of public higher education, receiving a much higher proportion of their revenue from state and local taxes than four-year institutions do, and typically serving a wider range of students—in terms of age, income, and ethnicity—at lower prices.

But community colleges, like many public universities before them, are experiencing a shift in their public identity. In some states, students' tuition dollars have surpassed