North Carolina Community College System Seeks Funding for Propel NC Model from Lawmakers

The N.C. Community College System seeks funding for Propel NC, its new funding model proposal, with a near $100 million price tag for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024-25.

The State Board of Community Colleges unanimously endorsed the new plan in February, following five months of work from August to revise the funding model created in 2010 and last updated in 2013.

In February, Finance Committee Chair Lisa Estep emphasized the significance of the labor-market-driven shift, calling it a necessary change.

Most of the funding for the state’s 58 community colleges stems from state appropriations.

The current funding model, based on the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) students enrolled, uses a four-tier funding model to allocate resources. Propel NC proposes a shift to workforce sectors based on job demand data to prioritize connecting students to high-demand, high-wage jobs.

The estimated cost for this aspect of the model is approximately $68.6 million, according to the system’s information.

Propel NC includes a recurring ask of $93 million to lawmakers and a $99 million request for FY 2024-25.

Updating the base allocation for instructional and academic support funds is part of the plan, with a cost estimation of about $24.4 million.

The system also seeks $6 million for an enrollment increase reserve, redirecting excess tuition receipts back to the colleges generating them in certain years.

The NCCCS plans to continue discussions and advocacy efforts for Propel NC, aiming for full funding this fall and preparing contingency plans for varied funding levels.

Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and Board Member Bill McBrayer reviewing Propel NC documents at the January State Board of Community College meeting.

North Carolina foresees a one-time $1.4 billion surplus in state revenues through FY 2025, granting lawmakers flexibility in investments.

Looking ahead, the General Assembly’s discussions revolve around clarifying local college board trustee selection terms rather than community college funding.

Governor Roy Cooper’s budget includes $34.3 million for implementing Propel NC to streamline degree attainment and workforce preparation.

John Hood from the John Locke Foundation advocates for Propel NC, citing its potential modest increase in state funds to align with workforce demands.

The requested enrollment growth adjustment, updated to $69 million, underscores the ongoing need for financial support despite not being statutorily required.

myFutureNC’s legislative priorities aim to boost educational attainment, workforce credentials, and support for postsecondary students facing emergencies.

The organization also advocates for early education foundations and high-quality career development plans aligned with employer needs.

Visit their legislative priorities document for a comprehensive overview.

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