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OCC Educators say community college success can't be measured by degrees

New York’s community colleges have become a popular option for people looking for additional education after high school. But a new study suggests that the state’s schools aren’t turning out enough students with degrees.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – New York’s community colleges have become a popular option for people looking for additional education after high school. But a new study suggests that the state’s schools aren’t turning out enough students with degrees.

Onondaga Community College educators say, however, that the study’s conclusions may not necessarily apply to community colleges.

They say that many of their students may simply be seeking to continue their education, and a degree may not be their goal.

Community college has often been lauded as a great tool for getting people into the workforce.

It’s partially why the makeup of students at a community college is different than a traditional four-year school.

At OCC, the average age in the student body is 27 years old, which often means students are juggling many responsibilities besides school.

"What happens when someone is older than a traditional college age student more often than not they have a part-time job, if not a full-time job meaning a job that's not necessarily for extra money on the weekends or buying books, it's a job to put food on the table and to pay your rent,” said OCC spokesperson Amy Kremenek.

Kremenek pointed out that almost half of the students who enroll here at OCC do it on a part-time basis, which would only make it a lot longer for them to earn a degree if they so choose.

"It could be you're taking one class at a time or two classes at a time and it doesn't mean you're not being successful it's just taking you longer because often times our students have other responsibilities,” she said.

Kremenek says the school works to help students achieve their goals whether that’s to help them graduate or receive more general education.

OCC’s current graduation rate is 35 percent within three years. Kremenek says part of the SUNY system’s new standardized financial aid letters will contain information on graduation rate.

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