Strategic Finance

Fund what works and what matters. Equip community colleges with sufficient resources and appropriate incentives to scale evidence-based reforms for improving student success and talent development.

Recommendation 11

Strategic Finance

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States should treat community colleges as the foundation of their talent development systems and invest in them accordingly. In fact, community colleges should receive more public resources than four-year institutions because their mission demands that they keep tuition affordable, but in many states, they make do with a fraction of the revenue that flagship universities collect. As a result, community colleges are limited in the types of instructional and support programs they can offer, and low-income and underserved students get less indirect support from the state than their peers at other institutions.


States should fund community colleges adequately and create incentives to expand their student success and talent development missions. Specifically, they should do the following: Make state and local community college appropriations proportionate with those of four-year institutions, award grants to seed implementation and expansion of programmatic strategies, create tax incentives to stimulate charitable giving to community colleges, and design outcomes-based funding schemes that reward colleges for strong performances, particularly in boosting outcomes for underserved populations.