2017-09-13 / Front Page

LAGCC President Clarifies ‘Misconceptions About Today’s College Students’

An op-ed by LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow in The New York Times is getting a lot of attention. In “Misconceptions About Today’s College Students,” (August 28) she writes about common perceptions of who goes to college in the US – e.g., most people don’t realize that nearly half go to community colleges, 40 percent of whom work at least 30 hours a week, 25 percent work full-time and attend school full-time. She writes of the typical student profile inadequately conceived in the public mind as recent high school graduates who have lots of free time and cash to party and live away from home. Actually, one-quarter are older and single parents. Add to that the fact that “as open-access institutions, community colleges educate the majority of our country’s low-income, first-generation students. But public funding for community colleges is significantly less than for four-year colleges, sometimes because of explicit state policies.”

Mellow also points out that “Community colleges need increased funding, and students need access to more flexible federal and state financial aid, enhanced paid internships and college work-study programs.” And community colleges, “with almost half of all undergraduate students, received just a small fraction” of $41 billion in charitable contributions, one-quarter of which went to only 20 institutions of higher learning.

President Mellow’s op-ed had received 415 (mostly supportive) comments at last count, and spent nearly 48 hours on the "Most Emailed" list – ranking as high as no. 2 – after it first went online.

Read the full story at www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/opinion/community-college-misconception.html

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