In Massachusetts, a four-year public college takes in an average of about $18,500 a year — from tuition and fees as well as state and federal funding — to educate one full-time student, while a community college typically gets only $10,500 for that same student. This kind of cavernous gap in resources is the norm across New England. And it’s costly.
Community colleges power local job markets, their graduates are far more likely to stay local, and they have deep experience helping workers retrain to survive economic earthquakes like the COVID-19 recession. They are also the only viable path to a bachelor’s degree for many low-income Black and Latinx students. But they have been weakened by years of underfunding, which shows in bleak completion rates.