Exploring the Funding Structure for Texas Public Community Colleges: Attitudes and Perceptions of Community College Administrators
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Today, it seems that receiving a quality education is more important than ever. However, the challenges to providing a higher education are also greater than ever. As our world evolves into a more global community, we are faced with higher standards and expectations to hold ourselves accountable. Never has there been a time when employers have sought such a broadly trained and educated workforce. Society, as a whole, also has high expectations from its system of higher education. Because higher education now plays such a crucial role in enabling an individual to enter the work force and the middle class, more people are eager to pursue an advanced education. Additionally, due to the rapid acceleration of the information and technology revolutions, it is necessary to change and improve our educational systems in order to adapt to the new demands of a changing society. Changes, however, are difficult to promote without the proper financial and governmental support. This is perhaps why many institutions of higher education, specifically public community colleges, are struggling to cope with the educational demands of students while carefully balancing their respective financial situations. Thus the focus of this Applied Research Project is to assess the current funding structure for public community colleges in Texas. Structured interviews are the chosen research methodology for an exploration into the attitudes and perceptions of Texas public community college administrators regarding the current funding structure for Texas public community colleges. Specifically, the applied project explores the reliability and political nature of available revenue sources, formula funding as a method for appropriating funds to community colleges, and the various political elements of the current funding mechanism are assessed from the perspectives of Texas public community college administrators. The research findings suggest that the funding structure for public community colleges in Texas is a complex mechanism that is affected by various external and internal factors. The research findings also indicate that the interviewed community colleges administrators are dissatisfied with certain aspects of the current funding structure for public community colleges, but are relatively satisfied with others. In specific, administrators are generally pleased with formula funding and its impact upon the funding structure, and are generally displeased with the reliability of the revenue sources available to them.