Skip to main content

HB 8 and SB 2539 - Community College Finance is Transformative for Texans

March 15, 2023
Texas is continuing to boom and attract businesses. With this growth comes an increased need for skilled workers and education systems responsive to the evolving economy. Likewise, as jobs in Texas continue to seek high skilled labor, Texas families are seeking economic mobility to seize these opportunities.  
HB 8 by Representative VanDeaver and SB 2539 by Senator Creighton are key to investing in and improving our state's community colleges to increase economic success for Texans. Philanthropy Advocates looks forward to our state leaders giving community colleges the tools they need to create opportunities for Texans.
For years private philanthropy has been supporting community colleges in numerous ways. Our members see firsthand the essential role that community colleges play in transforming the lives of students.
For example, members of Philanthropy Advocates have provided more than $2 million during the last biennium to help community colleges provide emergency grants to students – addressing issues of affordability and responding to barriers that today’s students face, such as addressing mental health, food insecurity, transportation and access to childcare.
In East Texas, our members partner with community colleges to provide data-driven programs that lead to job opportunities in high-wage, in-demand careers that their region needs, such as nurses and CDL truck drivers - both occupations with average salaries well above the median yearly income rates in their community.
HB 8 and SB 2539 present an opportunity for immense impact - bringing to scale the resources necessary to improve economic mobility and our state’s global competitiveness. HB 8 and SB 2539 will increase affordable postsecondary options as early as high school through its efforts to enhance dual credit options. It will also invest in re-skilling and up-skilling efforts that are often necessary for mid-career professionals to advance and increase their household earnings potential. We know that education can transform lives and we look forward to our state leaders working to ensure this mission is supported for decades to come.
We are not alone in our excitement for community college finance reform. In fact, our recent statewide poll shows that 93 percent of Texans agree that community colleges should be properly funded so they can continue to offer the training needed for people to get a good job or a better job. Additionally, 96 percent of Texans agree that our students should have access to opportunities to earn college credit while they're still in high school through programs such as dual credit, apprenticeships, and career and technical education courses.
Currently, about 62% of jobs in Texas require at least some postsecondary education, but only 47.9% of adults in Texas have a postsecondary credential. Fortunately, community colleges can provide pathways to multiple self-sustaining wage credentials. Community colleges are also uniquely positioned to meet the demand for re-skilling and up-skilling Texans for the 21st-century workforce. Sadly, over the past 50 years, state funding of community colleges has declined from 68% to 26%.
Reforming the way we fund our community colleges will drive local and regional success across the state.

Are you a foundation looking to invest and engage in public and higher education research and advocacy?

Become a Member