Iowa budget cut proposal could impact community college tuition

DAVENPORT, Iowa-- Verlee Washington picked Scott Community College for a couple of reasons.

  •   It's close to home
  • And affordable.

"I have received some of the most  of the amazing opportunities  an invitation from Harvard and to travel and study abroad," said Washington.

But changes in affordability could come soon to community college students like Washington.

Millions of cuts  proposed by the Iowa Senate could slash funding for community colleges. The Iowa Senate is proposing in $52 million budget cuts for the current fiscal year.

Those hit the hardest would be state universities, the state's justice system, human services and community colleges.

"The more we're cut the harder it is for us to fulfill our missions as best as we can fulfill them," said Don Doucette, Eastern Iowa Community College Chancellor. .

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges would lose half a million dollars in funding from the state if passed.

"We've been operating at reduced budgets for almost five years now. This is getting to a critical point where reductions make it really hard to do the job we know we can do exceedingly well," said Doucette.

For EICC every penny counts as state funds make up almost 40 percent of their operations. The rest of their funds come from student tuition and fees, and local tax properties.

If the bill is passed, Doucette says there's a possibility of tuition going up, but he's hopeful state officials will seek other options.

"We look forward to make a case for the importance of what community colleges do and providing affordable access to higher education," said Doucette.

The bill is expected to be up for debate next week on the Senate Floor.