Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Making the Case
July 9, 2021
As we look towards our re-emergence, we must be mindful of the challenges our students encounter and have empathy for the difficult life choices they face. Community colleges nationwide are experiencing dwindling enrollments as students deal with COVID-related health issues, food insecurity, financial hardship, childcare, and loss of loved ones. Concurrent with these challenges, a recent survey found that nearly two-thirds of college students say higher education is not worth the cost. This figure is up from 49% in a poll conducted last August.
In the face of these national trends and perceptions, Westchester Community College provides compelling facts that should minimize such concerns for our students. First, thanks to the effective stewardship of our college’s resources, the strong support of the WCC Foundation, and federal, state and local governments, we continue to offer our students the lowest tuition rates in the county and were able to minimize rate increases.
The other important point for prospective students to know is that a WCC education is an investment in their future, one that provides a greater return than most other investments. For example, 21% of WCC students who begin their academic journey from the bottom fifth of the income quintiles end up in the top fifth later in life. WCC is ranked 21st out of 690 two-year colleges nationwide on this measure.
Also important in the calculus of students determining their plans for college attendance are instructional modality and safety. One thing we have learned during the past year is that offering a variety of modalities is advantageous to a diversified student population that requires flexibility in course and service offerings. In addition to increasing the number of in-person courses, our faculty have developed an expertise in delivering a comparably high-quality educational experience remotely.
Regarding the safety of our staff and students as we resume and increase on-campus operations, our Pandemic Response Team has shared plans that follow guidance from federal, state and local authorities, and balances safety with access. The PRT will present updates to these plans at an Employee Town Hall on July 14 from 11 am to 12 noon. A subsequent Student Town Hall will follow. Details for both Town Halls are forthcoming via email. In the meantime, you can read the most up-to-date COVID protocols and safety measures on our web site. We will record these Town Halls for those not able to attend.
Hopefully you are enjoying a summer that fulfills your summertime wishes!
Dr. Belinda S. Miles