In order to further advance the community college movement, the colleges must retain their open access mission but couple with it strategies to help students complete a certificate, a degree, or transfer. Their stunning success is attributable to their open access mission. Now they need to focus on the equally important objective of student completion.
Community colleges should provide greater academic direction to students when they enroll. They should continue to improve developmental education, since over 50 percent of all students who enter community colleges need to complete such a course. Community colleges should continue to keep overhead low and tuition and fees reasonable for students and families. And remember that community colleges remain the least well funded among the public colleges and universities.
Community colleges must continue to demonstrate to government leaders that investment in these unique institutions will pay by helping students earn degrees and obtain jobs.
Budig is a former president/chancellor of Illinois State University, West Virginia University and the University of Kansas.