DMC commuter status has huge impact

Illusttration By Danny Meza

In order to keep up with the technological advances from other countries, President Obama announced a new goal for America: that by the end of the decade, the United States will once again have the largest percentage of college graduates in the world. As incentive for this, the idea has been toyed with that the funding that a college or university receives will be decided in part by the completion rate that each institution reaches.
However, the completion rate that Del Mar College holds currently is about 11.4% according to the statistics profile released on the school’s website. However, what the graduation rate does not include are students that are simply taking their basics at the college and end up transferring out to a four-year university. If the funding that was allotted to schools, especially community colleges, was decided by these statistics, smaller schools that are already at a budgetary disadvantage will be hit even harder.
Many students attend DMC for summer classes for a semester or two even if they attend another university or only take a few basic courses during their first year and then transfer out. These students are marked as incomplete and are counted against the college in means of graduation rates, even though there was no intention of them receiving an associate’s degree from the school.
Even for a four-year school, if funding is being taken away because there is a below average number of graduates per year, how is the college supposed to thrive? If the school cannot retain a certain number of graduates with the budget they are given currently, how are they supposed to improve with less funding?
In high school, it was mandatory to attend classes, but it was also a free education. In college, each student is responsible for paying for their own tuition, books, and general  living expenses. It is a personal choice whether to attend school or not after the age of 16.
This means that it is not a college’s job to keep “kids” in school.
Therefore an institute of higher learning should not be penalized if the students choose to stop attending classes and ultimately fail to complete a degree.
Forcing colleges to survive on an even smaller budget can in no way make the graduation rate increase. What needs to be done instead is more intense teacher evaluations, a better evaluation of financial need, and what constitutes a student being in need of help for tuition.
It seems there are many ways to solve the problem, but cutting funding and limiting resources for colleges is not the best option.

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