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New California State Budget Supports Community Colleges

Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposed 2007-08 budget for California contains good news for the state's 109 community colleges, especially College of the Canyons.

The budget contains increases in a number of key areas that will allow the colleges to serve more students, and while community college revenues will increase under the governor's plan, student enrollment fees will remain the same. The current rate is $20 per unit, which is a $6-per-unit decrease that took effect Jan. 1.

"The governor has consistently demonstrated his support for California's community colleges, and this proposed budget reaffirms his belief in the important work we do for students and businesses in the economic development of the state," said Dr. Dianne Van Hook, superintendent-president of College of the Canyons.

The budget includes a 2 percent increase in funding for enrollment growth at all 109 community college campuses statewide. This funding will enable colleges to serve more students by adding classes and providing additional services. Early estimates indicate College of the Canyons could receive about $2.8 million of the $109.1 million available statewide. This is particularly good news for College of the Canyons, which was recently named the fastest-growing community college in the nation by Community College Weekly. While more than half of the 72 community college districts in the state are in a mode of declining enrollment, College of the Canyons is on the move and leading the pack in meeting the needs of the community it serves.

As well, the governor's proposed 4.04 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) recognizes the quickly inflating costs for the colleges to operate while maintaining high quality classroom instruction and student services. The proposed COLA could mean an additional $2.4 million in funding for College of the Canyons in the 2007-08 fiscal year.

The governor's January budget is considered a starting point for budget deliberations in Sacramento. It will be adjusted after tax receipts are collected in April, and the governor will make changes when he releases the May Revise. The budget will then be debated in the Assembly and Senate.

"We are optimistic that the Legislature will recognize the importance of the priorities outlined in the governor's budget and approve the funding levels as proposed when they vote on the budget later this year," Van Hook said.