Washington state's budget cuts to community and technical colleges hurting programs that could lead to new careers
The Seattle Times
June 4, 2011
When it comes to cutting millions of dollars out of state community- and technical-college budgets this spring, perhaps the most vexing issue is that the very programs that could kick-start new careers won't be available for all the students who want to enroll.
The Legislature last month sliced $84 million from the community- and technical-college budgets for the next biennium, while authorizing 12 percent-a-year tuition increases for the next two years.
Even before the cutbacks, classes at many of the state's two-year schools had waitlists. Now, as the schools look for ways to trim further, it's becoming likely that those waiting lists will grow still longer as classes are cut from the schedule. And some programs will be phased out altogether.
"The employment needs are there; the jobs are going to be there," said Steve Hanson, president of Renton Technical College. "That's what's so frustrating."
The Renton college's nursing program is so popular that students already are admitted by lottery, so some don't get in.
At South Seattle Community College, the aviation program is full for the fall quarter. The school's popular culinary and wine programs have waitlists for the summer quarter. There are even waiting lists for online classes.