OUR VOICE: COMMUNITY COLLEGES SHOULD REMAIN 2-YEAR INSTITUTIONS

The newly devised “state school” system will demand more money from students and more competition in the admissions process.

There is now a slew of community colleges in Florida adding degree programs to their curriculum effectively changing the school’s status of a 2 year community college to a burgeoning 4 year state school, Providing students who are not able to enter a university with an option to stay with the school’s bachelor’s curriculum.

Luckily, Valencia Community College has been the hold out in the network of community colleges in the state of Florida.

VCC has not opted to offer a bachelor’s program and instead is shifting focus to having a more direct relationship with the University of Central Florida, offering B.A. degrees from UCF on campus. This should be the future of community college education; the answer does not lie within state colleges extending their degree programs.

The transition of other schools raises legitimate concerns over what will be affected with the
school’s choice to change.

If the school will ever be successful in full transition into a 4 year state school, tuition will
need to be raised to supplement the added cost to the institution.

The rising cost of tuition and debt from student loans has been a deepening concern for
students for a number of years.

Community colleges have been a way for students to receive higher education without having to pay the outstanding cost of a university, but most of these new state schools would not get away with such a stark change in tuition costs and to remain competitive, they would still have to keep their rates relatively low.

If we assume these new state colleges will keep costs relatively low compared to universities, how will the enrollment and admissions process work?

Schools would have to become more selective as to who is accepted and who is denied, otherwise, students will be lining up out the door to get into Seminole Community College’s political science program, or Daytona’s school of criminal justice.

For now these schools are offering degrees in subjects not offered in Florida universities, but eventually they will have to offer more and that could potentially step on the toes of other colleges in the state.

Santa Fe is a community college in Gainesville, Florida that offers a direct connect option to the University of Florida, a school that is the first choice for a large number of Florida college applicants.

Now, Santa Fe has just begun offering a B.A.S degree in clinical lab science and health services management.

If this school plans on offering more programs in the future, how will this affect the conduit
that exists between them and UF?

If it’s Santa Fe’s plan to offer a portion of the same degree programs as UF and they can do it cheaper, that will mean the university will have to become more selective and more expensive and guess what, Santa Fe will also have to become more selective and more expensive.