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Gov. Jerry Brown recently revised his projections for the state's budget deficit. This PDF presentation outlines the impacts to the system. (pdf)

Watch the May 15, 2012 budget webinar with panelists Chancellor Jack Scott and Vice Chancellor of College Finance Dan Troy: (video)


Presentation on the cumulative impacts of recent California Community Colleges budget cuts. (pdf/ppt)

Key Facts about California Community Colleges

Updated November 6, 2014

Printer-friendly copies of these key facts  (Word)(PDF)

Printer-friendly copies of distance education key facts  (Word)(PDF)

NEW! 2013-2014 State Budget Presentation (PDF)

Gov. Jerry Brown's Enacted 2014-15 State Budget for the California Community Colleges:

  • $140.4 million to fund a 2.75 percent restoration of access.  This would allow colleges to add more than 60,000 students.
  • $47.3 million to fund a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) of 0.85 percent.
  • $170 million to support student success programs and strengthen support for underrepresented students.
  • $30 million for Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS).
  • $148 million for deferred maintenance and instructional equipment.  These dollars are available on a one-time basis.
  • $37.5 million in Proposition 39 funds for energy efficiency and workforce development projects.
  • $2.5 million for local technical assistance to support implementation of effective student success practices in all districts, with priority placed on underperforming districts. 
  • $1.1 million and nine new Chancellor’s Office positions to develop student success indicators and monitor college/district performance.
  • $49.5 million for earlier mandate reimbursement claims.
  • $497.8 million (over multiple years) to reduce outstanding system deferrals to $94.6M.  This funding is allocated using combination of prior year, current year, and budget year funds.
  • $50 million in one-time funding (non-Proposition 98) to offer incentive awards that recognize models of innovation in higher education that 1) increase the number of students earning bachelor’s degrees, 2) increase the number of bachelor’s degrees earned within four years, and 3) ease transfer in the state’s higher education system.
  • A positive trigger allowing the Director of Finance to increase Proposition 98 funding if, in his determination, the Proposition 98 guarantee is higher than estimated at the time of the Budget Act.  The first call on additional expenditures will be to pay down the remaining deferrals.
  • The governor did not increase California Community Colleges student fees for the 2014-15 academic year. 

The 2013-2014 State Budget Funding for the California Community Colleges:

  • $25 million for Adult Education and $15.7 million Apprenticeship shift from K-12 to California Community Colleges.
  • $89 million to increase access.
  • $87.5 million for Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).
  • $209 million reduction in payment deferrals.
  • $47 million energy efficiency/Proposition 39.
  • $16.9 million for statewide distance education initiative.

Impact of Budget Cuts on the California Community Colleges System During the Recession:

  • Funding for the California Community Colleges was cut $1.5 billion between the 2007-08 and 2011-12 academic years (PPIC report).
  • Course offerings statewide were cut by roughly 25 percent due to the five consecutive years of deep budget cuts.  
  • The cuts forced community colleges to ration course offerings and as a direct result, nearly 500,000 students were shut out of the system.

Proposition 30 Made a Huge Difference:

  • Community colleges received $210 million in additional funds in 2012-13. Most of that money was used to make good on deferred funding commitments by the state to colleges and made room for an additional 40,000 students.
  • Approximately 3,300 classes were added to the system for the spring 2013 semester.

Value to California:

  • California community colleges educate 70 percent of our state’s nurses.
  • California community colleges train 80 percent of firefighters, law enforcement personnel, and emergency medical technicians.
  • Twenty-nine percent of University of California and 51 percent of California State University graduates started at a California community college.
  • Transfer students from the California Community Colleges to the University of California system currently account for 48 percent of UC’s bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • Community colleges offer associate degrees and short-term job training certificates in more than 175 fields, and more than 100,000 individuals are trained each year in industry-specific workforce skills.
  • Nearly 42 percent of all California veterans receiving GI educational benefits attend a California community college for workforce training, to earn an associate degree or to work toward transferring to a four-year university.

High Return on College Education:

  • The California Community Colleges is the largest provider of workforce training in the state and nation.
  • For every $1 California invests in students who graduate from college, it will receive a net return on investment of $4.50.
  • Californians with a college degree will earn $400,000 more in their lifetime than their peers with only a high school diploma.
  • Students who earn a degree or certificate from a California community college nearly double their earnings within three years.
  • Attending or graduating from a community college doubles an individual’s chance of finding a job compared to those who failed to complete high school.
  • The California Community Colleges is the state’s most cost-effective system of education – the revenue needed to support one full-time community college student is slightly more than $5,000 per year.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that occupations that require an associate degree will grow by 18 percent through 2020 – faster than the new job growth for those with a bachelor’s degree.

Priorities and Efficiencies:

  • The Student Success Initiative of 2012 helps to improve educational outcomes, improve the workforce preparedness of the state and close the achievement gap for historically underrepresented students. It decreases the amount of time it will take students to earn a degree, certificate and/or transfer to a four-year university, which saves students and taxpayers money through reforms and efficiencies.
  • In 2012, the California Community Colleges and California State University launched the new Associate Degree for Transfer program that simplifies the student transfer process between the two systems. The initiative generates approximately $160 million annually in cost savings and those savings provide access to 40,000 additional community college students and nearly 14,000 California State University students each year.
  • The California Community Colleges is the most cost-effective system of education in California. While the state revenue needed to support one community college full-time student is slightly more than $5,000 per year, that same student costs approximately $7,500 in the K-12 system and $20,000 and $11,000, respectively, at UC and CSU.

Workforce Skills Gap:

  • Undergraduate demand for the three public systems of higher education in California is expected to grow by 387,000 students by 2019. To accommodate the increase it will take $1.5 billion more in revenue.
  • The Public Policy Institute of California estimates by 2025 California will face a shortage of 1 million college degree and certificate holders needed to fuel its workforce.
  • With baby boomers retiring as the best educated and most skilled workforce in U.S. history, labor experts are concerned that California will lack workers with the critical aptitude needed to replace them.

Impact of Forced Rationing of Education During the Recession:

  • 2009-10 categorical cut ($313 million) and apportionment cut ($190 million); 2011-12 apportionment cut ($385 million).
  • The system served more than 252,000 FTES for whom the colleges did not receive funding; while additionally reluctantly turning away another 129,000 FTES due to workload reduction.
  • Received no statutory cost-of-living increase between 2007-08 and 2012-13 creating a cumulative loss of purchasing power totaling 16.3 percent.
  • Reduced course sections and increased class sizes.
  • Fees increased from $20/unit in 2008-09 academic year to $46/unit in summer 2012 – a 130 percent increase in a period of three academic years.
  • The California Community Colleges enrollment decreased by more than 585,000 students to 2.3 million in four academic years (from 2008-09 to 2012-13) due to severe budget cuts.
  • Course sections (classes) were reduced by approximately 25 percent due to state funding reductions. Non-credit course sections saw a bigger decrease of approximately 38 percent.
  • From 2008-09 to 2011-12 the community college system reduced summer and winter sections by nearly 50 percent due to reduced funding and mid-year trigger cuts that made it difficult for colleges to plan.

Distance Education Fact Sheet
California community colleges lead the way in distance education:

  • Nearly 27 percent of all California community college students will take a class offered through distance education this year, up from 12.5 percent in 2005-2006.
  • Of all courses offered at California’s community colleges, 12.3 percent are offered through distance education, and it is estimated that nearly half of all courses have some online component.
  • California community colleges first started offering distance education courses in 1979.
  • Of the 2.4 million students enrolled in 2011-2012 academic year, 621,501 took at least one distance education course.
  • The average course load of all California community college students in 2011-12 was 12 units. The average course load of students who enrolled in distance education courses was 15 units.
  • Distance education almost doubled from 21,414 sessions in 2005-06 to 41,354 in 2011-12.
  • Two age categories – 18- to 19-year-olds and 20- to -24- year olds – account for 61 percent of those enrolled in distance education courses in 2011-12.
  • Thirty-seven percent of students surveyed in 2011 said they enrolled in at least one distance education course because of the convenience.
  • Fifty-one percent of California’s community colleges offer certificates and degrees that can be earned without stepping onto campus for classes. This typically includes a combination of both online and television courses.
  • The Internet provides California community college students with 94 percent of the distance education offerings. Television is next with 8 percent, followed by correspondence (2 percent) and video conferencing (1 percent).

General Facts:

  • With more than 2.1 million students on 112 campuses, the California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the United States.
  • One in every four community college students in the nation attends a California community college.
  • Most of the 112 colleges are on the semester system, but Foothill, DeAnza and Lake Tahoe community colleges are on the quarter system.
  • Three out of every 10 Californians ages 18-24 are currently enrolled in a community college.
  • Fifty-five percent of community college students are people of diverse ethnic backgrounds and roughly 53 percent are female.

Student Demographics by Ethnicity for 2012-13

  • African-American
  • Native American
  • Asian
  • Filipino
  • Hispanic
  • Pacific Islander
  • White
  • Multi-Ethnicity
  • Unknown

Student Demographics by Age for 2012-13

  • <19
  • 20-24
  • 25-29
  • 30-34
  • 35 and Over
  • Unknown

Student Demographics by Gender for 2012-13

  • Female
  • Male
  • Unknown

California Community Colleges Fee History:

Fiscal Year

Fee (per unit)

1984-85 $5*
1991-92 $6
1993-94 $10
1994-95 $13
1998-99 $12
1999-00 $11
2003-04 $18
2004-05 $26
2006-07 $20
2009-10 $26
2011-12 $36
Summer 2012 $46
*Prior to 1984, community colleges
charged no fee