Browse News By Topic:
Browse News By Date:
Now Viewing News →
News & Events
Sorting results by: All, All Dates
Community College In KELOLAND
Sammi Bjelland reports:
With rising costs for college, many are looking for the cheapest option. Some are even opting not to go at all.
One in three students in Sioux Falls do not attend any schooling after high school.
While some may not think technical school or a four year program are for them, there are other options.
We take a look at the ways the state is working hard to make sure students have options when it comes to their education.
With declining enrollment in recent years, the University Center decided to get an outside perspective. They hired the firm FutureWorks to do a study on what could be done to draw in more students.
"Our consultant very much pushed the idea that we find a way to provide a community college like function here through University Center," said Craig Johnson, University Center Executive Director.
A community college is similar to a technical school, in that it provides two year degrees and certificates with more flexible hours than a traditional university. The difference is where you go afterwards.
Tech schools typically prepare students for careers. A community college can sometimes be a more affordable way to earn an associates degree, before heading to a larger institution.
"So than rather than expecting people to bite off an entire four year degree right from the start, especially part time, the idea that they could do it in steps. Get a certificate or two, associates degree, and then get a four year degree, seems like a more realistic manageable task for someone," said Johnson.
So why doesn't South Dakota have a community college system? While most states have had them for years, South Dakota has never seriously considered the idea.
According to South Dakota Board of Regents Executive Director, Mike Rush, there hasn't been a real need.
"It is not something we're contemplating at this time, no. We are looking for, however, options to garner some sort of public support," said Rush.
One of the benefits of a community college is the state funding it receives, meaning tuition costs are cheaper than other schools. Rush says to do that here, they are looking for ways to raise financial support, without raising taxes.
"Most likely have to come in the form of business support, donations and that sort of thing," said Rush.
In the meantime, there are some big changes being made to help out.
The University Center is adding ten new associate degrees and certificates, which are offered through the state universities this fall in a junior college program.
"We're looking to provide something that supplements what Southeast Tech has. It is not intended to duplicate or compete with any part of their operation or business. Not that at all," said Johnson.
"It's just another option, and that's a good thing. But it will be an easier option in some ways. So let's say a student says, I don't really want to go to a four year residential university right now. Well, okay. Here's another option. Take a two year degree, general studies degree, at University Center and then transfer," said University of South Dakota President, Jim Abbott.
USD President, Jim Abbott, says even if you don't transfer, you'll still have a degree.
Which could mean more benefits for the whole state.
"The economic vitality or the income level of people in the state is directly correlated with the amount of education. In other words, the higher levels of education the more money that exists in our families throughout the state," said Rush.
"I think now more than ever, particularly in the future, you need a degree post high school to get the kind of job that you want. We're really talking about how do you raise the educational level, the skill level, the general knowledge level of students so that they can get a better job, provide their families with a better living. Move forward in a way that makes them happier. That's what education is all about," said Abbott.
Johnson says the new junior college program through the University Center could save some students about $200 per course.
© 2017 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.
Sorting results by: All, All Dates