Monday, March 30, 2015

An education is more than getting a certificate

Register Guard
March 17th, 2015


Outcomes-based funding espouses a singular version of academic success — a vision that would harm Oregon community colleges and their students. This funding approach has proved less than successful in other states. It is fraught with complexities, and community colleges in states where it has been implemented are attempting to find ways to make the flawed model work.
I strongly agree with Lane Community College President Mary Spilde on this matter. In opposing plans to tie state funding levels for community colleges to their graduation rates, she’s had her head on the chopping block for years — it’s time more of us got involved.
Essentially, outcomes-based funding favors colleges with higher student completion rates. All things being equal, the model might be fair — but things are not equal. At LCC, 74 percent of students qualify for the Pell Grant. This means that a very high percentage of Lane students live in poverty. For them, this proposed funding basis spells trouble.
When people with financial security experience setbacks, it’s inconvenient. For our students on the fringes, any setback can be catastrophic; they don’t just drop out of college, their whole lives can fall apart. The majority of our students are in this predicament, and attending Lane gives them a fighting chance to get out of it.


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