PCC’s leadership team visits with key legislators about community college budget
If the governor’s recommended budget for community colleges becomes reality at $543 million for 2019-21, Portland Community College and the state’s other 16 community colleges would have to raise tuition by 35 percent in the next two years. It would also eliminate any career technical education (CTE) initiatives to close the skills gap, and end the popular Oregon Promise scholarship for under-represented students.
However, PCC leaders are trying to make sure that doesn’t happen.
On Thursday, Dec. 13, the college’s four campus leaders and PCC Board of Directors joined PCC President Mark Mitsui for a day of meetings with state legislators in the confines of the Capitol Building in Salem. The goal was simple: encourage Oregon’s community colleges to receive funding at its $787 million budget ask where they could provide more robust CTE training and student support, and not have to raise tuition.
Keeping tuition down is essential at PCC. According to surveys, 45 percent of students are the first in their families to go to college; 30 percent have kids; 13 precent experience homelessness; 66 percent are food insecure; and the average commute to get to PCC is an hour because many students must live outside of the city due to housing affordability issues. Increasing tuition by double digits each of the next two years would be devastating for most students at PCC and for community college students across the state.
Next up for PCC, are more legislative days for college advocates in Salem throughout the upcoming session, which begins Jan. 22. This will include PCC’s Day at the Capitol on March 12 where college leaders, staff, faculty and students will meet with representatives and senators to discuss the 2019-21 budget and advocate for full funding.