Degrees and Certificates
Students attend community colleges for a variety of reasons. Some wish to develop or upgrade a particular skill or simply learn more about a subject that interests them. These students generally do not intend to earn a degree or certificate and many already have such credentials. However, most of our matriculated students do intend either to earn a degree or certificate or to transfer to a four year institution, and some intend to do both. Moreover, we know that a degree or certificate makes a significant difference in a student's job prospects and income. National studies have shown consistently that workers who hold a bachelor's degree have higher average lifetime earnings than workers with an associate's degree, that those with an associate's degree have higher earnings than those with a certificate, and that those with a certificate have higher earnings than those with only a high school diploma. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us as educators to do everything we can to encourage students to set degree and certificate goals and to support them in the achievement of those goals.
We will continue to track the number of completers both overall and by program, and we will also track the numbers and percentages of those who complete a degree with three years of enrolling. While three years may be difficult goal for part-time students, it is a reasonable benchmark particularly since many of our students come to us with a number of college credits already earned.