To date, the slowly building wave of reform that steadily washes around Louisiana higher education certainly has lifted community and technical colleges. As baccalaureate-and-above institutions have experienced retrenchment, these have enjoyed rapid growth and state money that comes with it, courtesy of policy decisions. So these institutions should get out of their getting mode and into their giving mode when it comes to alterations they need to make in response to policy changes they may not find quite as appetizing as those before.
Joe May, president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, in a luncheon address complained that the higher education funding formula, which in so many other ways has come to favor those kinds of schools, does not when it comes to penalties it levies for non-completing students. Recent formulaic changes now deliver funds for schools for the number of course completers, not enrollees. The previous emphasis on getting people to sign up for classes created incentives for warm bodies to register, but not to finish coursework or, more importantly, degrees.
May noted that community colleges are open admissions – anybody with a high school diploma or General Equivalency Degree can enroll for their classes. This increases the chance that unprepared students do so, where as a term begins schools must budget for teachers and space according to this number. If a larger proportion of these students drop out of classes or their entire program for that semester, then the school ends up wasting money, such as by hiring teachers not necessary when the final numbers are in.