Community Colleges Overcrowding

As community colleges are suffering from funding and overcrowding issues, career colleges are being unfairly targeted by a proposed Department of Education regulation intended to curb the amount of unpaid student debt in this country.

Limiting students’ educational opportunities creates barriers to success that many cannot overcome. As students seek opportunities in higher education, we must be careful not to limit these options for any segment of society; instead, we should support a system that encourages all students to pursue higher education. A 21st century economy depends upon a person’s knowledge as a foundation for increased personal earnings and the economy’s enlarged capacity to grow.

A recent Washington Post article cited difficulties that community colleges are having nationwide. Due to budget shortfalls, many of these institutions can no longer accommodate the number of students interested in attending. They have been forced to turn applicants away. In Colorado, where I served as president of Colorado State University, the waiting lists for nursing programs at some community colleges can be as long as 3.5 years. Due to overcrowding and underfunding, nursing students in Colorado face the alternative of a career for which they have less passion or a wait of more than 3 years.

Why is this problematic? Now, more than ever, a college education is the key to future opportunities for today’s students and the capacity of a market economy to grow. Students denied access may become bored with their wait and give up on their education dream. Society suffers as well. With a growing, aged population, the absence of adequate employees in sectors like nursing will mean lower quality health care.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-penley/community-colleges-overcr_b_796394.html

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Thursday

December 16th, 2010

Staff Reporter EducationNews.org

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