Message from President Bornstein regarding state funding for education

FLAGSTAFF Ariz. -- There is much discussion surrounding the state's recent budget cuts to education: one hundred million dollars in cuts to our state universities, elimination of all funding for Pima and Maricopa Community Colleges and flat funding for Arizona's rural colleges which includes CCC. 

Cuts to JTED programs like CAVIAT will also impede progress and impact our citizens and our College.

Once again, our state capitol has chosen not to invest in our citizens through education even though the data shows that the return on investment for education is far greater than the market average.

Since 2008, the state has reduced operational funding to Coconino Community College from $3.3 million to $1.8 million. The combination of progressive decreases in state aid and increasing costs have forced the college to raise tuition and reduce services to our students in order to remain fiscally viable.

In 2014, the College with the direction of the CCC District Governing Board created a Financial Austerity Plan reducing the number of students graduating from the nursing program from 80 per year to 40 per year, eliminating the early childhood education program, eliminating all full-time faculty positions at the Page Campus and eliminating the Community and Corporate Learning mission that was designed specifically to encourage business growth in Coconino County.

In our current environment, the College can sustain for 5 to 7 years with small incremental tuition increases. However, further State cuts would lead to more program cuts and possibly larger tuition increases. The end result would be less access to those needing higher education and the jobs created from the skills they acquire while attending CCC.

Flat funding merely helps the College survive without needed innovation and growth to meet the demand.  

What is at stake? A recent study commissioned by Arizona's Community Colleges about CCC's impact on Coconino County tells the story:

  • Total impact: $65 million dollars infused into the local economy annually.
  • Taxpayer Perspective:  Every $1 in costs returns $2.30 to the taxpayer in benefits.
  • Student Perspective:  Every $1 in costs returns $3.90 in wages to the student over a lifetime.
  • Social Perspective: Every $1 in costs returns $1.50 dollars to the taxpayer as data shows an educated society is healthier and commits fewer crimes. Further increased employability leads to fewer claims for welfare and unemployment benefits.

Although Coconino Community College been in existence for less than a quarter of a century, the impact for the County has been immense. Nurses, paramedics, firefighters and law enforcement professionals trained by CCC are a large percentage of those protecting us every day.

Thanks to the symbiotic relationship between CCC and Northern Arizona University over 1,700 students, most from Coconino County, are currently in the CCC2NAU program. For many it is the most affordable way to earn a bachelors' degree, giving them the skills they need to enter the workforce without the massive debt. Many in the CCC2NAU program will stay here to grow our own workforce and tax base.

Based on the facts, isn't it time that our State Legislators begin to look at higher education as an investment rather than a burden?

Category
News
Date
Wednesday, 11th March 2015
 
 

All Dates

  • Wednesday, 11th March 2015