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Community College Funding To Help End Economic Disparity

Community College Funding To Help End Economic Disparity
A new study recommends more community college funding goes to colleges in economically depressed areas.

California's community colleges are finally getting the first proposed boost to their budgets since the economy crashed.

California Competes, a nonprofit organization that deals with issues around higher education, released a report called “Educating Julio,” this week.

Robert Shireman, executive director of California Competes, urges community colleges to use the financial shot in the arm to end the cycle of economic disparity.

“Community colleges are the critical entry point especially for low income populations: people who are the first in their family to go to college,” he said. “The community college tends to be local and accessible and is often the first stop to improving and breaking that cycle of poverty.”

Shireman said San Diego has a high proportion of people with degrees, compared to many other parts of the state. But, he said, that doesn't let the county off the hook, emphasizing that districts should have more elastic borders and allow for more students who do not live in their immediate area.

“The San Diego area has five or six community college districts, depending on which ones you include, but working together to plan for how to address the region's needs is a lot better than each of them doing their own thing,” he said.

Shireman said the proposed $155 million in new funding should mainly go to the Inland Empire, Los Angeles and the Central Valley, which have the starkest economic disparities.