WASHINGTON — Community colleges have received a declining share of government spending on higher education over the last decade even as their student bodies have become poorer and more heavily African-American and Latino, according to a report to be released Thursday.
“Many community colleges end up receiving minimal federal support,” said Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, which is publishing the report. “The kids with the greatest needs receive the fewest resources.”
The report argues that colleges have become increasingly separate and unequal, evoking the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, which barred racial segregation in elementary and secondary schools. Higher education today, the report says, is stratified between four-year colleges with high graduation rates that serve largely affluent students and community colleges with often dismal graduation rates that serve mostly low-income students.
In 2009, community colleges spent $9,300 per student on educational resources, virtually unchanged from 1999 once inflation was taken into account. Public research universities spent $16,700, up 11 percent from 1999, and private research universities spent $41,000, an increase of 31 percent.