Tuesday, October 22, 2013
California Raisins and Community Colleges
In the meantime, we pay the price for failing to market ourselves as well as dried fruit. It’s time to send a different message through the grapevine.
Best of all, it would be a way to poach those reverse transfers out of nearby universities (yesterday's blog) without being too obvious about it! You definitely know that universities will not cooperate, because they and their football-branding operations have too much invested in being unique.
I think if you're going to attract 18 year olds, "practical" isn't the right selling point. You need to sell challenge, autonomy, adulthood, life-long friendships, parties, cachet... Kids are willing to take out big loans to pay for those things. They're not thinking about when the loans come due. They're kids.
Go to private school for 4 years and graduate:
Tuition: 50,000*4 = $200,000
Go to CC for 2 years and then private school for 3:
Tuition: CC = 30 units at $30 per unit for 2 years = $1800
Private school = $50000*3 = $150,000
Opportunity cost of losing salary: $40,000 (more for an engineer)
Total cost = $191800
Add to that the cost of having to figure out navigation of two systems, having to establish new friendships, moving, trying to get undergrad research opportunities (difficult when new to a campus) this is not as clear-cut.
Also – programs that are impacted will sometimes stop admitting transfer students so the kid who could have been an engineer ends up majoring in Math because the school is no longer accepting transfers in the major they wanted. Not the end of the world but much more difficult from the perspective of getting a job after undergrad.
I think CCs are better off touting access for people who need more flexible alternatives or smaller classes. The cost argument is tenuous.
The flip side is that there is a very real possibility of being able to transfer into a selective school that would not admit you as a freshman. CC advertising (or discussions with HS counselors) could explain how that works: selective schools benefit by only letting in high test scores as freshmen, both for US News and to boost their IPEDS numbers.
Ivory makes the case for articulation -- a word I had rarely heard until I started teaching at a CC. (Blog series, DD?) It deserves more attention than it gets, and is much better where I teach than in most other places. Good articulation plays a large factor in the success of transfer students and we work tirelessly on such details as the authority to teach a class that some call "upper division" but that is in the sophomore curriculum for many majors.
(I noticed that Dean Dad's CC teaches every non-engineering class that most engineering colleges expect to be taken in the first two years.)
I'd also add that few engineers graduate in 4 years any more. The data I've seen say that our transfers take about one semester more (3 at the upper division rather than 2.5) at the nearby university if you don't count an extra semester for an internship.