In state capitols around the country, political leaders are praising the work of community colleges. There is widespread recognition that community colleges are more than a great place to start working toward a degree — they are a lifeline for people who have lost their jobs and are in need of retraining, and an essential economic development tool for bringing new jobs into states. As important as that recognition is, though, it often amounts to little more than talk. Lip service is fine, but financial support is what community colleges really need.
Gov. Jay Nixon’s state of the state address shows that in Missouri, unlike many other states, our governor is willing to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to higher education. His budget recommendations reflect deep support for community colleges as well as for the students who attend them. Our colleges face tremendous challenges balancing their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year, but the governor’s commitment to minimizing cuts in state funding will reduce the damage done during these lean budget years.