Texas’ new method for funding community colleges could position two-year, public institutions as major players in training students on skills employers say are missing in the state’s labor force.
House Bill 8’s historic $683 million investment in community colleges rewards schools for getting students to complete a degree or certificate, transfer to a four-year university or participate in college courses as early as high school.
HB 8 passed with a near unanimous vote, a contrast to the political polarization that surrounded higher education in 2023 through contentious legislative battles over professors’ tenure and diversity, equity and inclusion offices.
Proponents of the new funding formula believe it will help community college students and the state economy as a growing number of high-demand, self-sustaining jobs in Texas require credentials beyond a high school diploma.
“It's about making sure that community colleges have a source of sustainable funding to innovate and to keep up with that pace of change,” Jonathan Feinstein, of Education Trust in Texas, said.
Here’s what to know about the new finance system and what it means for community college students:
The Texas Tribune partners with Open Campus on higher education coverage.
Be sure to check out a Jan. 24 Texas Tribune event, where we examine the implementation of House Bill 8 and discuss other laws affecting community colleges. Register for the event here.
Disclosure: Education Trust, Austin Community College and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.