Community Colleges: Ignoring part of the community

Published January 9, 2015 by lynn k scott

Community colleges have a lot to offer in regards to higher education.  They offer certificate courses as well as Associate degrees, not to mention cheaper tuition than a university, state or online school.  Yet, there is one major flaw with community colleges:  they are ignoring part of the community they are supposed to serve.

I am what is considered a “returning adult student”.  That means, for whatever reason, I wasn’t able to complete my degree in my early 20s.  That being said, if the school offers online and evening courses to assist working adults in furthering their education, then they need to address the concerns of the returning adult student and stop ignoring the fact many of these students are not free during the 9-5 business hours.

Many students choose online or evening classes because it allows them to continue working or taking care of their children while getting their education. There is no reason the counseling office doesn’t offer evening appointments to discuss required coursework or transfer information.  Why are online courses requiring in-person testing and said testing offered from 4:00-6:00 p.m.  Last I checked, my jobs end at 5:00, so that alienates many adults who would have been able to take that course.  The college library and other labs are not opened on the weekend and typically close before evening classes even begin.

Everyone knows college students receive discounts for having a college ID.  Sadly, that office is only open until 5:00, Monday through Friday.  Online and evening students are charged a health fee (like all students).  The majority of adult students have health insurance and never utilize this service, yet cannot opt out of paying for it.  To add insult to injury, this office also closes early, ensuring evening and online students cannot receive services they are forced to pay.

After completed several exercises in futility at attempting to contact the college, “antiquated systems”, “you’re not the first to raise these concerns” and unreturned phone calls seems to be the community college’s responses.  While these are just a few examples of how the college ignores a large part of the community, there doesn’t seem to be a solution on the horizon.

It is painfully clear, colleges prefer to deal with those students who fit into the nice tidy package of the 9-5 business day. Those who adults who wish to better themselves must pay considerably more to be allowed the same education by attending online-only courses (other than community college) or continue working in their current positions without the assistance of a college that is supposed to be there for the entire community; not just the ones under 30.

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