(CBS) – The fourteen community colleges in Pennsylvania are worried about state budget cuts that could make it harder for people who can’t afford a private education to attend a two-year institution.

The community colleges are stepping up their Advance PA initiative designed to let lawmakers know about the important role the colleges will play in the economic recovery.

Community colleges have seen their enrollments surge since the start of the recession. Delaware County Community College President Dr. Jerry Parker said ten percent of their budget is federal stimulus money, but that’s going away and he added, any loss of state money could be devastating:

“If we don’t get the public funding we need, we have no alternative but to raise tuition which will just be self-defeating.  Even though we are the most affordable we’ve got people coming who are out of work, underemployed who just can’t even pay our tuition.”

He said six out of ten families in Pennsylvania have some connection to a community college. Their role will be in the national spotlight Tuesday when Jill Biden hosts the first-ever White House summit on community colleges.

Reported by KYW’s Brad Segall