Sunday, September 22, 2013

Swails Fails to Understand College Financial Realities

If a student graduates from Wando High School with what Mt. Pleasant Mayor Billy Swails calls "decent" grades, that student should be able to enroll in a local four-year college or university that is public funded.

Why? He reports pressure from parents who want cheaper or less religious alternatives than Charleston Southern, which has open admissions, so their children can stay in Mt. Pleasant without starting their studies at Trident Tech.

In his well-meaning way Mayor Swails has fallen into the snare perpetrated by President Obama and others that every high school graduate should get a four-year degree. How many even now leave four-year institutions with no degree, no employable skills, and thousands of dollars of debt? What percentage of these debt-ridden college dropouts should never have attended a four-year school in the first place?

Schools such as the College of Charleston consider factors other than "decent" grades because they search for those who will successfully complete degrees. Swails posits that this means students who are the first in their family to attend college can't get in. He's wrong. That detail, coupled with good grades and SATs, virtually guarantees admission!

At Francis Marion University students with below-average SAT scores may successfully achieve degrees, but about 60 percent of FMU freshmen fail to graduate. If the average SAT at FMU is 952, it's not too difficult to surmise that that low score predicts the failure of the majority to graduate! Then they are left  with their debts.

Trident Tech even now operates as an unofficial "bridge" program for the College of Charleston and every other four-year school in the state. TTC even has a satellite campus in Mt. Pleasant. Students who are motivated can cross the bridge to a four-year college. Not many do so because the majority do not have the motivation and academic skills to succeed, even if they did graduate from Wando.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What Lucy wants Lucy gets.