Letter: The Importance Of Community College

The Importance Of Community College

Dear Editor,

President Barack Obama’s recent proposal to give students two years of free tuition has sparked a great deal of discussion and debate about improving access to higher education for the general public. While that debate has centered on the cost of such a program, it also highlights the importance of community colleges in preparing today’s workforce, and the fact that community colleges are the best deal in terms of providing quality, education and jobs-centered training at an affordable rate.

A study by Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies shows that a Kaskaskia College program graduate can expect to increase their career earnings by 61% over those not completing a community college program. Graduates with an Associate of Arts and Science and long term certificate program completers saw their first year earnings increase by $10,561. The study confirms the value of a community college education, particularly KC students who pay less and earn more than the state average, in terms of cost and return on investment. The annual rate of return on the initial investment for a degree from Kaskaskia College is 36.9%.

Another key reason KC is a better deal for students is full time students save more than $7,400 dollars on average, per semester compared to taking the same load at regional four year universities. Those savings could double for students taking advantage of one of KC’s many two plus two agreements it has with four year institutions.

Area high school students and their parents also get a head start on their higher education experience through KC’s dual credit program. In fiscal year 2015, students who took advantage of the dual credit program saved in excess of $7.8 million dollars compared to taking those same number of credit hours at an institution such as Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

That investment in a Kaskaskia College education is also an investment in the local economy as students who attend tend to stay in the area of school upon graduation, unlike four year college students who tend to move out of the area. This is highlighted by KC’s own job placement results which shows 93% of graduates are employed, and working within 50 miles of the region and 92% area employed within Illinois. These students are likely to remain, become part of the fabric of the community and become civic and community leaders.

A community college education is an investment, which pays richly for the student and for the community, and Kaskaskia College has a rich history of student success. As a result of this extensive dedication to student success, KC was recently recognized by the ASPEN College Excellence Program as one of the top colleges in the nation.

As we move into the spring now is the time students should be looking to make that investment into their future. KC has a number of financial aid and scholarship opportunities that will assist any student in advancing toward their goals and plans. Please join us at Kaskaskia College!

Dr. Penny Quinn

President and CEO

Kaskaskia College