Lots of praise, not much money

President Obama will speak at Miami Dade College‘s commencement today.  Community colleges are getting lots of praise, but not enough money, writes Michael Vasquez in the Miami Herald.

. . .  it’s a sign of community colleges’ enduring second-class status that Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padrón dreams of one day receiving even half the per-student funding afforded to Florida’s state universities.

These days, Miami Dade receives about $2,800 in state funding for each full-time student, while state universities get more than $11,000 per student, Padrón said.

The college is braced for funding cuts for the fourth year in a row.

Obama is expected to praise Miami Dade for boosting Hispanic college graduation rates. The college enrolls and graduates more minority students than any other college in the country.

Miami Dade College will graduate 14,000 students Friday and Saturday, but Padrón notes that thousands of other students this year had their graduation date pushed back, or didn’t attend classes at all, because the college could not add enough course sections to fully accommodate the growing demand.

In 2006, Florida’s community college three-year graduation rate was 34 percent.