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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 October 7, 2015

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

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


2015-16 Budget for California Community Colleges:

  • Total funding for the California Community Colleges in 2015-16 is $7.7 billion, which is an increase of 12 percent compared to the 2014-15 fiscal year.
  • $156.4 million for increased access of 3% – This funding would increase access statewide for approximately 62,500 students (headcount).
  • $471.7 million for student success – These funds will be used for the Student Success and Support Program (SSSP) and Student Equity Plans, plus technical assistance, regional and online workshops, and e-transcripts, e-planning, and common assessment tools.
  • $48 million for Career Technical Education – These one-time funds are proposed for support of the SB 1070 Career Technical Education Pathways Program.
  • $31.4 million for Apprenticeship – $16.4 million of these funds would restore the rates and seats of current programs back to the 2007-08 levels and an additional $15 million is proposed for innovative apprenticeship projects that focus on new and emerging industries with unmet labor market demand.
  • $38.7 million for Proposition 39 – These funds support projects and workforce development related to energy sustainability, consistent with the provisions of Proposition 39.
  • $266.7 million to increase base allocation funding – This increase is intended to ease the constrained discretionary funding environment colleges have experienced since the economic downturn. These funds can help colleges address the scheduled increases in STRS and PERS contribution rates, for example.
  • $61 million for COLA – This would fund the statutory cost-of-living-adjustment of 1.02%.
  • $62 million to increase hiring of full-time faculty
  • $500 million to fund the Adult Education Block Grant – These funds would go to regional K-12/California Community Colleges consortia to be used for adult education courses in elementary and secondary basic skills, citizenship, English as second language (ESL), programs for adults with disabilities, short-term career technical education programs and programs for apprentices. Each consortium will be required to annually report its progress toward fulfilling adult education plans.


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 113 campuses, the California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the United States.
  • Approximately one in every five community college students in the nation attends a California community college.
  • Most of the 113 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