After the 2008 recession, attendance at community colleges nationwide spiked as unemployed workers sought education to learn improved job skills. According to a Federal Reserve report, nearly 37 percent of all post-secondary students are enrolled in community colleges. In some states, that number rises to almost 60 percent.
Funding is a top challenge facing community colleges and students, including those attending one of ten community colleges in the Phoenix area. In response, the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation launched a four-year, $50 million effort to help fund three specific areas designed to promote student success.
The foundation identifies those areas as:
- $25 million to fund scholarships that will directly support student success.
- $15 million in support for faculty and staff innovation, creativity and excellence to develop new programs, initiatives and methodologies to enhance student success.
- $10 million to support community partnerships that expand opportunity for students.
While many donors are willing to give money to prestigious private colleges and larger public universities, community colleges are often overlooked. That is unfortunate because local community colleges need and deserve consideration from donors.
You earn tax breaks
Many people donate to schools to take advantage of charitable tax breaks. Those tax advantages are the same for community colleges as they are for other colleges and universities. In addition to one-time donations, most college foundations can help set up charitable remainder trusts, gift annuities, deferred gift annuities, charitable bequests and more.
Students are appreciative
Many of the students attending community colleges are disadvantaged or nontraditional. Perhaps they are older or have children. Some may have experienced difficult life circumstances that limited their educational opportunities. Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation includes profiles for many students on its website and the stories are inspiring. The point is there is no sense of entitlement among these students.
You build the community
Community college students seeking jobs target local employers almost exclusively, according to a brief for the National Science Foundation. That is not the case for traditional students who attend larger universities. After graduating, many of them move away from the local community to find work.
Scholarships are needed
The rising cost of college is well-documented. For example, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost for a two-year public college in 1982 was $2,390. Today it is $86 per credit hour. Scholarship donations enable schools to curtail tuition increases and allow more students the opportunity for higher education.
Your money goes much further
In contrast to the previous number, the average annual cost for a four-year school is $17,474 — about twice as much. Remember, students generally attend community colleges for two years and not four. That means the same amount of money donated to a community college can potentially help four times the students than if that money was given to a four-year institution.
The proposed projects for Maricopa Community Colleges range from funding endowed scholarships, to establishing an automotive center for excellence, to enhancing performing arts center programming. More information about each college, its projects and donation options are available by contacting each college or the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation.
About Maricopa Community College Foundation
The Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization designated by the Maricopa County Community College District to receive and manage gifts on behalf of its ten colleges, two skill centers and multiple satellite centers. The Foundation actively seeks contributions from a variety of public and private sources including individuals, corporations and other foundations. It acts as a trustee for donations to assure that gifts are distributed in the manner specified by the donor.