Community colleges say they can’t help the neediest students get through college successfully without more funding. But these institutions, which educate 10 million students a year or 44 percent of all undergraduates, have a terrible track record; fewer than half their students end up earning degrees. Obviously, all those college dropouts aren’t improving local work forces. And state lawmakers aren’t keen to write community colleges blank checks without accountability.
A first attempt at finding an answer was the publication of a paper in October 2022 that examined the costs of Texas community colleges.