Colleges and universities are experiencing unprecedented cuts in public funding.
In Wisconsin Governor Walker's budget slashed technical college funding by 30% for each of the next two years. As a result, technical college state funding has returned to a level not seen since the 1980s. The state's investment in the Milwaukee Area Technical College, the Wisconsin Technical College Systems' (WTCS) flagship institution with more than 50,000 students, has dwindled to a measly 7% of total funding. The state's contribution is suppose to be 33%..
At the same time the University of Wisconsin system was cut by $250 million and more cuts are being contemplated.
Across the country similar draconian cuts are undermining access to higher education as colleges and universities cut back on classes and sections and increase tuition to make up for the loss of state funding. The cuts are also undermining the ability of two-year colleges like MATC to address the skills gap by training the the next generation of skilled and technical workers at the very time that large numbers of veterans and dislocated workers are enrolling to acquire new skills of upgrade existing ones.
The Latest issue of the Chronicle on Higher Education reports:
A weak job market has brought a wave of applicants to community colleges in search of job training, but those same students are finding it difficult to gain access to courses they need, says a report released Thursday.
Nearly four in 10 community-college students responding to a national survey commissioned by the Pearson Foundation said they were unable to enroll in at least one class they wanted this fall, and 20 percent said they had trouble enrolling in the courses they needed to complete their degree or certificate.
Students who had the most difficulty with course enrollment were those attending part time and taking remedial courses.
Pearson's first survey of community-college students, conducted last year, found similar results, with one in five students feeling squeezed out of classes they needed.
The Chronicle of Higher Ed article is linked here.