Publication Date

2016-12-29

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2016-12-29

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)

Department

Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense

2016-12-02

First Committee Member

Soyeon Ahn

Second Committee Member

Scott Ingold

Third Committee Member

Susan Mullane

Fourth Committee Member

Robert Moore

Abstract

Research Problem Statement: This dissertation examined strategies that community colleges have been using to manage legislative and local budget cuts since the downturn of the economy in 2008. The study examined three key research questions: (1) What types of non-traditional revenue sources have community colleges turned to since the 2008 economic crisis?, (2) Which strategy has been the most effective in securing different non-traditional revenue sources?, and (3) What institutional characteristics (i.e., diversity, size, location, and longevity of president) are associated with the success in securing non-traditional revenue sources? Methodology: The population of the current study is 986 public, not-for-profit, two-year community colleges in the United States. An on-line survey instrument was designed using the application software Qualtrics and pilot-tested with ten experts, five of which were institutional leaders and the rest of which were faculty who is considered as content expert in higher education or community college leadership programs. Institutional leaders were defined as College or Campus Presidents, Foundation Presidents or Executive Directors, and Vice Provosts or Vice Presidents of Institutional Effectiveness. The survey questionnaire was tailored to capture information regarding (1) what specific steps community colleges have taken to address the legislative and local budget cuts, (2) what strategies they have used to handle the legislative and local budget cuts, (3) whether or not these are working, (4) whether or not community colleges have the correct structure and personnel in place to affect sustainable change, and more. The final survey was sent directly by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) to the member of CASE. IBM SPSS (IBM Corp, 2016) was used to analyze the collected survey responses. In order to answer three research questions, the survey responses were first summarized by a series of frequency tables. Second, the relationships between variables were examined using either a chi-square test of association or correlation coefficient. Lastly, a hierarchical regression model with four blocks predicting the effectiveness of the implementation of the strategies used to generate revenue using a number of independent variables was performed. Results: Regarding research question 1, results from data analysis show that colleges are involved in a host of fundraising opportunities that would allow them to attract dollars from non-traditional revenue sources. And, all of the colleges responded that they are doing at least one activity aimed at increasing revenues. Regarding research question 2, results from data analysis showed that there was a statistical significance between state legislative budget cuts and adverse effects of community colleges budgets as it relates to Capital Campaigns. Regarding research question 3, results from data analysis did not show statistically significant relationship between various factors and the perceived effectiveness of implementing non-traditional funding as a dependent variable. One exception was found, showing that colleges with capital campaign perceived significantly higher effectiveness of implementing non-traditional funding when compared to those without capital campaign. Discussion: The foundation of this study supports the idea that community colleges have more to gain than to lose if they shared fundraising strategies. Building an endowment, cultivating relationships with alumni that lead to donations, identifying corporate sponsorships, securing building-naming opportunities, engaging capital campaigns are critical to the future of community colleges. The untold challenges that lie ahead vis-à-vis the continued budget cuts by state legislative bodies and local entities can devastate these institutions that, in many cases, are the only option for millions of students. And, although this particular study only showed a statistically significant relationship between the perceived effectiveness of implementing non-traditional funding and whether colleges involve in capital campaigns or not, it would behoove community colleges to share strategies. The more they collaborate the greater their chances of self-sustainability. Stopping the current practice of withholding information, refusing to respond to survey requests, or otherwise thwarting data-gathering opportunities – I fear – will not serve community colleges well. Limitations to the study included (1) It was not possible to do a statistical analysis for respondents in regards to which local government budget cuts had adversely affected their budgets because of the low sample size and, as a result, low statistical power; (2) The issue of survey fatigue. The study is limited by the scope and length of the questionnaire. There are any number of questions that could have been asked to gather more data that may help in understanding all of the challenges faced by the community colleges completing the survey; (3) Deciding to do a quantitative and not a qualitative study limits the amount of detailed narrative that can be gathered. A qualitative study would have provided much more detailed and would have answered many “why” questions; and (4) The potential survey participants’ bias. The survey results rely on participant responses. Historically, colleges and universities have not been as willing to divulge information regarding their financial resources, especially their privately funded revenues and institutional resources. As such, the information must be taken on face value. Future research should be combined with qualitative analysis so that more in-depth knowledge related to college presidents and foundation leaders’ activities could help interpret results from quantitative analyses. This would make future studies more impactful and will allow researchers to examine the many complicated factors of community college fundraising in greater detail. Future research should also include in-depth analyses of state legislative funding cuts and the exact dollar impact on all community colleges. State legislators should also be interviewed to chronicle their roles in supporting the community college mission. Legislators support for higher education increases or cuts are not only impactful to community colleges but to the long-term viability of the states themselves.

Keywords

Managing Legislative and Local Budget Cuts; Community College Foundations; Capital Campaigns; Funding; State Cuts in Higher Education

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