Budget meeting focuses on completion, enrollment

By Vicky Nguyen

The East Los Angeles College budget committee voted Monday to prioritize a new state formula to help students earn degrees and certificates faster.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed California 2018-19 budget  includes a new California Community College funding formula.

If approved by state legislature, the new CCC funding formula would take into account student income and completion of programs in addition to enrollment.

“Now, it’s more about graduating students, much more so than enrolling as many students as we can,” ELAC President Marvin Martinez said.

However, in explaining the pros and cons, Academic Senate President Jeffrey Hernandez said the new formula makes things more difficult for students who need assistance or for students who take longer to complete their programs.

Martinez also expressed his concern that the new formula might encourage schools to become diploma mills, rewarding large amounts of certificates to take advantage of the system. He also stated an appropriate timeline is needed to allow adjustment to the new formula to ensure the needs of all students are met under the changes.

The committee is examining issues that might be affected, such as enrollment caps and student services.

If a single large block grant is given for programs, Martinez advocated that the committee recommend less restrictions on how they use grant funds.

“Once we move into this new formula, it’s going to take a lot of resources to support our student services,” Martinez said. “We want to be given the freedom to move more money around to where we need it.”

Hernandez voiced opposition to this idea, explaining that categorically funded programs, such as the Extended Opportunity Program & Services, meant to help disadvantaged students, are incredibly successful, and they should be protected with restrictions.

The committee will present their recommendations to the Consultation Council of Community Colleges on Mar. 15 and submit to the state legislator on Apr. 1.

“Writing recommendations? That’s easy. The hard part is going to be working with the legislator, working with [California Community Colleges Chancellor] Eloy Oakley, working with the governor’s office and trying to persuade them,” Martinez said.

Gov. Brown proposed the budget and new CCC funding formula in January. Under the current formula, which has been in use since the ‘90s, allocation of funds has been based almost entirely on enrollment.

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