The Impact of Sequestration on Community College Programs

Lynn Russo Whylly's picture

Across-the-board cuts to federal programs known as sequestration became effective March 1, 2013. Virtually all federal programs, including almost all of those of interest to community colleges, are subject to these cuts, although the Pell Grant program is exempt for fiscal year (FY) 2013. This document is designed to provide a brief update of how these cuts might impact your campus.


Sequestration was authorized by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The act mandated automatic across-the-board cuts—or sequestration—if Congress failed to act to reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. Since Congress did not pass the required deficit reduction legislation, sequestration was triggered. The sequester was originally scheduled to begin on January 2, but was delayed for 2 months, until March 1, as part of the fiscal cliff deal reached earlier this year.

Congress and the Administration continue to discuss the possibility of providing some flexibility to individual federal agency heads to shift funding as part of the final FY 2013 continuing appropriations. This legislation must be extended by March 27. However, while efforts continue to replace sequestration with a more balanced approach to deficit reduction, pressure is on to finalize the current fiscal year funding and move to FY 2014 funding.

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