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State Budget Cuts Ignore Value of Community Colleges

Author: Dr. Rufus Glasper, Chancellor, The Maricopa Community Colleges

March 26, 2015

Governor Doug Ducey has signed his first budget. We are disappointed that Maricopa Community Colleges Dr. Glasperwill receive exactly $0 from the state this year and going forward. Cuts in state appropriations  totaling $8.8 million will impact the Maricopa Community Colleges’ ability to provide educational outcomes for our students, one in four of whom is of Hispanic origin.   

State funding of Maricopa’s operating budget has been dropping since 1981, when it contributed 29% of the District’s budget. From 2007 to the current year, the state has eliminated about $57 million in funding to the Maricopa Community Colleges’ operating budget and $11 million in capital budget.

In the same week that the Governor’s new budget plan was announced, a research organization released a report that found the Maricopa Community Colleges add $7.3 billion annually in various kinds of income to the Arizona economy. The report, entitled “Demonstrating the Economic Value of Maricopa County Community College District,” summarizes economic impact and return on investment of the Maricopa district in fiscal year 2013-2014.

The analysis was conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), an organization that specializes in providing economic impact studies and labor market data to educational institutions. EMSI also found that for every dollar contributed by Maricopa County taxpayers to the Maricopa Community Colleges, $4 in benefits is returned to taxpayers, and that their average annual return on investment is 10.3%.  Click here to view the EMSI report on the Maricopa Community Colleges. 

This withdrawal of state investment in community college education to Maricopa forces very difficult conversations about our ability to serve the growing education needs of our community, especially those for whom access is already a challenge.

It has never been a more important time to invest in education and our community. That is why we are constantly searching for new partners in the public and private sectors to help keep Maricopa graduates at the top of their game for academics and job training. Thank you for your continued support as we engage with our community, education and business leaders, and the legislature to make this a reality.

Category: Postsecondary Success

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