Ana Gomez Vasquez

Major and Classification

Sociology and International Relations

Faculty Mentor

Veronica Terriquez, Ph.D.


Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

McNair Project

“Budget Cuts Equals Cutting Dreams: The Impact of the Budget Cuts on Low Income Students in Community Colleges”

Project Abstract

Students have become front-line fighters, trying to survive the budget cuts on higher education. So far, community colleges have been cut $825 million dollars (Douglass, 2011). According to a study done by the California Postsecondary Education Commission, community colleges have denied enrollment and educational resources to more than 200,000 potential students (Douglass, 2011). The state of California has implemented additional budget cuts that have further taxed the limited resources of the public higher education system. Moreover, student tuition and fees have increased, while course offerings have been cut throughout California public institutions of higher education. The budget cuts are significantly impacting underrepresented minorities in higher education. Approximately 80% of African American and Latino college students are attending community colleges in California (Shulock & Moore, 2005). In order to understand Latino students’ experiences in this education crisis, surveys and in-depth interviews were conducted with community college students between the ages of 18-26 years. A survey finding from a study of 193 randomly selected students in California, shows that students of a middle or upper income have more difficulties paying for school than those of a lower income. Data from in-depth interviews demonstrate a lack of resources in community college due to the budget cuts. Common themes such as limited classes offered and difficulties setting up appointments with advisors, were projected by many of the participants. This study contributes to the paucity of research on the current education budget crisis.