Stronger State Finance Policy as a Lever for Equitable Student Success

October 4, 2023, 12:00–1:00 PM EST

For community colleges to reach their full potential as drivers of prosperity and equity, research partners HCM Strategists and the Community College Research Center (CCRC), argue that states must create strong, stable, coherent finance systems that enable and incentivize colleges to better meet pressing state interests and student needs. To do so, policymakers need clear, comprehensive and state-specific pictures of how current finance systems operate. College leaders need sufficient resources that can be deployed in service of their institutional priorities, including equitable attainment.

This presentation will share insights and recommendations from research that maps the community college finance systems in California, Ohio and Texas. These states vary in terms of location, demographics, and the size and structure of their community colleges, yet each has recently seen notable efforts to change aspects of their community college finance system. HCM identified and analyzed the policies that control each state’s major revenue streams, their implications for institutional behavior, and their effects on equity. Additionally, CCRC researchers will present findings from an institutional analysis conducted at 8 community colleges across California, Ohio, and Texas that examined institutional funding and choices leaders made about how limited resources should be allocated. It also analyzed the colleges’ student success initiatives–how they operate, who they serve, and their resource requirements–with a focus on the ways institutional policy and practice is affected by the local and state economic and political context.


Martha Snyder, Managing Director of Postsecondary Education Transformation, HCM Strategists

Stephanie Murphy, Director of Postsecondary State Policy and Research, HCM Strategists

Nikki Edgecombe, Senior Research Scholar, CCRC

Maria Cormier, Senior Research Associate, CCRC

Taylor Odle, Assistant Professor of Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison