In mid-April, Virginia’s Tidewater Community College announced it would lay off 27 people in the wake of a steep drop in student enrollment. Earlier this spring, Brookdale Community College, a New Jersey institution, sent out an email asking employees to take a voluntary reduced work week or unpaid leave to help the school get through a difficult financial situation.
Layoffs and other signs of financial stress are evident at community colleges across the country. While the financial struggles of community colleges are nothing new, they pose a problem for many institutions, and can be expected to continue for the foreseeable future particularly as a number of states face ongoing budget shortfalls. Community colleges are often dependent on a combination of tuition and state funding, so when there is a lack of one or both, institutions suffer.