Guam Community College Seeks Steady Funding Amid Enrollment Decline

Guam Community College seeks steady funding despite enrollment decline, as Guam Education Board delays school decommissioning decision to address double sessions.

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Mahnoor Jehangir
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Guam Community College Seeks Steady Funding Amid Enrollment Decline

Guam Community College Seeks Steady Funding Amid Enrollment Decline

Guam Community College (GCC) is seeking steady funding for the upcoming fiscal year 2025 despite facing a decline in student enrollment. GCC President Mary Okada presented a budget request of $22.78 million, which is a rollover budget from the previous year, during budget hearings held by the Legislature's Appropriations Committee.

Okada cited economic conditions as the main reason for the enrollment decline, stating that "when jobs are available, people go to work." Enrollment data shows a decrease of 197 students, or about 11%, between the Fall 2022 and Fall 2023 semesters.

The budget hearings for GCC and various charter schools were part of the government of Guam's fiscal 2025 budget review process, chaired by Sen. Joe San Agustin. The overall budget request for the Leon Guerrero administration is $1.26 billion for fiscal 2025.

Why this matters: The decline in enrollment at Guam Community College highlights the impact of economic conditions on higher education. Steady funding is essential for GCC to maintain its programs and services for students, even as enrollment numbers fluctuate.

In a separate development, the Guam Education Board has voted to scrap the April 30, 2024 deadline to make a decision on school decommissioning or closures, instead aiming to make a decision before January 2025. The board prioritized addressing the issue of double sessions in schools, where students from different schools are sharing campuses, over rushing decisions on school decommissioning.

Board Vice Chair Angel Sablan proposed extending the deadline and proceeding with decommissioning only if it addresses the double session issues. The board acknowledged the need for school decommissioning due to declining student enrollment but wants to ensure the process is not rushed. The decision on school decommissioning is expected to be finalized by January 2025, before the department's proposed budget is due.

Key Takeaways

  • Guam Community College seeks $22.78M budget despite 11% enrollment decline
  • Enrollment drop attributed to economic conditions and job availability
  • Guam's overall budget request for FY2025 is $1.26 billion
  • Guam Education Board delays school decommissioning decision to address double sessions
  • School decommissioning decision expected by January 2025 before budget proposal