Community colleges “are in great danger of becoming indelibly separate and unequal institutions in the higher-education landscape,” a Century Foundation task force warns in a report being released here on Thursday. To deal with what it calls “the increasing economic and racial isolation of students” at community colleges, the group also calls for major changes in how two-year colleges are financed and operated.
Among its recommendations, the group urges states and the federal government to provide additional funds to two-year colleges that serve the neediest students, much in the way the federal Title I program works for elementary and secondary schools. In states where constitutional guarantees of education might extend to higher education, the report suggests that advocates even consider filing lawsuits to require such “adequate funding” of community colleges.
To “bring greater clarity to all types of public support for higher education,” the report also asks the U.S. Departments of Education and of the Treasury to jointly study how tax exemptions for donations to colleges and for institutions’ endowment earnings indirectly subsidize colleges—an effort that would highlight how such policies disproportionately benefit wealthier four-year institutions. <Read more.>