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Texas community college leaders say state funding won't be enough to meet growth

Though Texas community colleges are emerging from the 82nd Legislature with funding levels similar to those of 2010-11, some say the money won't be enough to meet growth.

Community college funding for the upcoming two-year budget cycle appears to be about $1.7 billion for instructional funds versus the $1.9 billion that the colleges received in the last budget cycle, according to the Texas Association of Community Colleges.

The cut in classroom-related dollars also comes on top of community colleges losing state contributions to employee health insurance and retirement benefits. Reductions in the state's financial aid for low-income students will also affect community colleges, a college official said.

The community college budget is part of the $21.7 billion that's been recommended for Texas higher education, but lawmakers continue working on critical budget issues in the special session called by Gov. Rick Perry, and some funding totals may be adjusted.

"We had overall cuts in this session," Tarrant County College Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley said. "We have to work harder with the money we do have."
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