I was surprised to learn from this post http://durandus.com/phaedrus/2008/04/08/mulling-tuition-policy/ that community colleges at one time had been free and that during the 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s, the cost of attendance was not that much different from larger public universities. Alas, that has changed.
Community colleges have helped many people transition from one job to another when they lost jobs or when they had to return to school for other reasons. In the past, many people have chosen to attend these schools because they were in the neighborhood and the cost of attendance was not as high as larger colleges and universities. With all of the outsourcing of jobs in this present day and time, I just wonder what people who can’t find a job that pays a living wage in this country are going to do if they also can’t afford training to find the work that is available. I am pro-community college because that is where some of the best learning experiences of my life occurred.
I recall a story that one of the professors told me about his experience with community colleges. His first teaching job was at a community college in a rural area. He was ambitious and desired to travel to other places so he applied and was granted an interview at a college – I don’t remember now if it was a private or public institution – but, it wasn’t a community college. Anyway, the interview was going well until the fact came up that he had been teaching at a community college. He said that the interview ended there and he was thanked for his time. Afterwards, he was not able to move out of the community college system and eventually settled where he was. I don’t understand why he wasn’t given more of a chance. By the time that I had him for class, he had written a book to use for teaching basic computing to his students. It was and is (I still have it) a great textbook. Very easy to understand and follow. He was also a very good teacher.
I wrote all that to say that community colleges sometimes get a bum rap.
Below I have added a follow-up to Traci’s comments, “Well, lets take a look at exactly what resources the larger universitities are utilizing! I understand that a university the size of UK would require a lot of funding to ensure that the school can continue to operate but when so much funding is being spent in their athletic programs and for their coaches, the price tag immediately goes up. I also understand that athletics bring in a lot of funding but the majority of those that the tuition cost is being transfered on to doesn’t even participate in an athletic program.”
Because I was intrigued by the statement in Mulling Tuition Policy at Community Colleges that community college tuition once nearly equaled that of public universities, I did a little research into possible reasons for such huge increases in costs and found the quote below in an article from U.S. News & World Report of October 24, 2006, “Also, school officials say that the costs of running a university are rising faster than the consumer price index. University officials have compiled their own inflation gauge, which they call the higher education price index, to track the things they buy, such as lab equipment, scientific journals, professor salaries, and the like. This index rose 5 percent in the 12 months that ended June 30, 2006. The CPI was up only 4.3 percent during that period. Driving college inflation are factors like a 200 percent increase in the prices of scholarly journals over the past 20 years, said David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. In addition, many colleges are feeling pressure from students and parents to upgrade dorms, gyms, and other facilities. Some surveys report that most incoming freshmen, for example, have never shared a bedroom, and are choosing colleges that offer them more expensive single apartments.”
My questions are: Why have the prices of scholarly journals risen so much? What about sharing of the wealth? Also, I can understand a parent’s concern over whether their child’s living conditions are sanitary and safe, but why can’t they share a dorm room with at least one other student like college students have done for years?
I agree with Tracy’s assessment as posted in her blog http://tnprater1006.wordpress.com/2008/04/09/tuition-cost-resources/ and that is, ” I am a big fan of smaller community colleges because I feel that individuals can receive a really good educational experience without the high cost of the larger schools. The main important aspect that needs to be considered when attending a post-secondary institution is what your major will be and what is the best school to offer the program in which you are interested.”