Thinking and Linking by Joanne Jacobs
On Community College Spotlight: Wealthy and powerful foundations are trying to shape higher education policy, pushing for raising college-completion rates. Is this a problem?
Also, creating a culture of completion at community colleges.
I think it’s a problem. We can raise completion rates by selecting out students who we know aren’t likely to finish (at least for academic reasons), but then we are excluding people from the system. It’s more efficient, but is it the way we want our colleges to operate? We are very proud of how open our system is to anyone who wants to learn–if we want to raise completion rates (without making a US college degree worthless) we’re going to create a system that’s less open. Now, there’s something to be said for requiring a certain amount of academic (or similar) requirements before issuing loans. It doesn’t seem to be wise to encourage people to go into debt for schooling that the statistics tell us they are unlikely to be able to finish.
As someone who holds two associate degrees from our local comm. college (along with other degrees), I can tell you that completing a degree isn’t really all that hard (if you are prepared academically, and make time to attend classes, study, and work hard).
I attended college in the early 80’s, but as a young person, my mind wasn’t prepared for college, but rather goofing off (I was a decent student academically, no remediation needed), but wasn’t into the mindset.
When I went back in the early 2000’s, I found that it was much easier the second time around due to work experience, discipline, and a better knowledge of subject matter (much of it learned over the last two decades).
If admissions offices were careful, they could screen out those students who weren’t ready for coursework (even at a community college) and perhaps the students could get the prep work they need by self study at the local library (usually the largest area of remediation is english and math).
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