The current push for higher college
graduation rates is great, however it also is posing some new threats
to Community Colleges. The threats being publicized
1. Multiple erroneous statements that
funding used for Community Colleges students that do not graduate with a degree or certificate is a waste of
tax payers money,
2. A proposal to dumb down the
courses to push up graduation rates and
3. Legislative discussions to
replacing open enrollment with selective enrollment to push up
Stating that a low completion rate is a
waste of taxpayers money, neglects the economic facts. The increase
in median annual earnings achieved by a Community College Graduate
reference a High School graduate is $9,889. Using a graduation rate of 20%, requires 80 % of the students to
fall within the U.S. Census category, "Some College no degree".
This category has a median annual earnings increase of $6,359.
(Data source provided in note below.)
Therefore the expected educational annual earnings
increase for every 100,000 community college students with a 20%
graduation rate is:
100,000 x 0.20 x $9,889 = $197,870,000
from associate degree graduates and
100,000 x 0.80 x $6,359 = $508,720,000
from college attendees that do not graduate.
The non graduates in this scenario
contribute 2.57 more dollars to our economy than associate degree graduates!
More graduates would be better, there
is no problem with the existing taxpayer's, return on investment.
Dumbing down the courses will both,
increase graduation rates and decrease the taxpayer's return on
investment, as all attendees will loose earning power.
Moving from open enrollment to
selective enrollment will increase graduation rates and eliminate the
opportunity for our most needy citizens, a very costly proposition
and the end of "Community" Colleges.
These are real threats to the United
States Community College System. We encourage those trying to
improve Community College graduation rates to follow "DO NO
HARM" principles. Any rewards tied to increased graduation rates should have penalties for actions that harm the system.
and Synthetic Work-Life Earnings Estimates (ACS-14).
workers median income: High School (HS); $34,197,
Some College (SC);
$40,556 & Associate Degree (AD); $44,086.
HS to SC delta
($40,556 - $34,197) $6,359. HS to AD delta ($44,086 - $34,197)