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State Investments At Community Colleges Will Benefit Students
Community Colleges

Community college funding to be provided over the next couple of years has gotten a thumbs up from a diverse coalition. The group, which includes higher education advocacy, civil rights, social justice, workforce, and student leadership organizations committed to educational equity and student success, issued a statement following the recent passage of the 2022-23 state budget.

Coalition members noted that they “applaud Governor Newsom and the Legislature’s commitment to investing in equitable placement and completion at California community colleges that will support over 1.8 million students attending one of our state’s 116 community colleges.”

In particular, said coalition members, they are grateful for the $64 million investment in the 2022-23 California state budget that will directly support the implementation of equitable placement and assessment policy (AB 705, 2017).

“In addition, we applaud the approximately $3.9 million ongoing (2022-23) and $1.4 million ongoing (2024-25) for increased staff capacity within the Community College Chancellor’s Office to support the needed oversight and implementation of key efforts to improve student success and close racial equity gaps.”

Redesigning course offerings and embracing new, innovative instructional models is critical work for faculty and administrators and requires appropriate investment and support from the state. This substantial investment is key to supporting faculty and campus leaders in implementing AB 705 and ensuring that faculty and students have the tools necessary to succeed. This investment will support colleges, faculty, counselors, and administrators to implement best practices in course design and effective concurrent student support models, assisting with reaching full implementation of AB 705 by fall 2022.

Prioritizing direct financial resources for equitable placement and completion policy, while developing a plan for moving away from standalone remedial courses, will ensure that student completion gains continue to improve, racial/ethnic equity gaps close, and that college success is a reality for all students across the state.

“We commend Governor Newsom and our legislative leaders for investing $64 million in students to ensure equitable placement policy is implemented with fidelity across California’s community colleges,” said Audrey Dow, Senior Vice President of the Campaign for College Opportunity. “AB 705 has been transformational in the lives of thousands of low-income, Black, and Latinx students who are now well on their way to transferring and earning a four-year degree, however, not all students have benefitted from the new equitable placement practices. This $64 million investment ensures that all community colleges have the resources to better support students to enroll in and successfully complete transfer-level math and English, keeping students on track to earn a degree and contribute toward a vibrant workforce for California.”

Brian Rivas, Senior Director of Policy and Government Relations with The Education Trust—West, added: “The $64 million investment to incentivize community colleges to phase out traditional remedial courses and scale up evidence-based alternatives is a critical budget investment. This approach will ensure that students who need these critical courses can equitably access them, which is a huge win for education in California.”