The differences are big. Spending aid per student in community colleges is the same as it was in 1999. During the same period, spending aid rose 11 percent in public universities and 31 percent in private universities.
The report says federal spending is not keeping up with the growing number of lower-income students.
The report said four-year schools with more affluent students have higher graduation rates. Community colleges have poorer students and dismal graduation rates. A member of the study team said, “The kids with the greatest needs receive the fewest resources.”
Community colleges enroll about 44 percent of the nation’s college students. In schools mostly made up of lower-income students, the students do not do as well as students in schools made up of more affluent students.
Almost all of the new students at community colleges say they want to go on to earn a bachelor’s degree. Only 12 percent do. Most entering students do not complete a two-year degree.
All public colleges have suffered budget cuts in recent years. Four-year colleges responded by increasing tuition. Community colleges cannot increase tuition by much.
The study says more money should go to community colleges that do a better job of graduating kids. It also says that community colleges should offer courses that attract more affluent students.