OCCC looks at ways to raise completion rate

April 18, 2013 Latest Print Print

OCCC has a new plan to raise the number of students who complete a degree or certificate by 50 percent.

The plan, “Roadmap to 2018: An Indispensable Pathway,” was approved March 11 at the OCCC Board of Regents meeting.

President Paul Sechrist said the overall impact of the plan will be a more highly educated workforce, improved quality of life and a prosperous community.

Sechrist said he sees the future of OCCC as defined by how many students graduate, not just how many attend OCCC.

He said the benefits of going to college are only fully realized if the student completes a degree.

The three “Big Goals” of the plan according to the draft are to:

• Increase the number of … students who complete a certificate or degree by 50 percent

• Close the academic achievement gaps that persist with … low income, first-generation, and some racial and ethnic groups.

• Double annual giving to support student scholarships, community events, and the endowment.

Planning and Research Executive Director Stu Harvey said the main goal of the plan is student success as defined by the completion of a degree, either here or at a transfer institution.

“Credentials are what help people improve their standard of living and allow them to get better jobs,” he said.

Harvey said the plan will likely be enacted this fall.

Accounting Professor Tamala Zolicoffer said the plan sounds wonderful.

“If we have a higher degree of completion rates then I think that it helps everyone — not only the college but the community and society as a whole,” she said.

Several students support the plan but believe many OCCC students don’t take it seriously, causing the low completion rates.

Jacob White, psychology major, said he feels a lot of younger students don’t take college seriously and abuse their financial aid.

“I pay for my own classes so I take them seriously and I want to do well,” he said. “Failing isn’t an option.”

Business Management Major Christabel Aryeequaye, agrees that age is a factor to the success rate.

“I think it is an age thing because my mom is here at college and she has a whole different mindset. She is an overachiever at everything,” Aryeequaye said.

Kevin Hernandez, chemistry major, said a professor of his said some students come to school, get financial aid, then drop out and keep the financial aid.

“Thats why Financial Aid changed their whole process to try and make students stay in school, not just take the money,”Hernandez said.

All three students said they think the plan is a good idea to improve the college and the community. White said he thinks the college should offer students an incentive to graduate — such as an iPad.

Harvey said the college wants to improve the community by sending students out into the workforce with degrees.

The majority of those unemployed are those with some college but no degree, a high school diploma, and less than a high school diploma according to the plan draft.

Sechrist said there are some changes and improvements he hopes to see in the next five years. “Higher success rates in classes(fewer dropouts), higher persistence rates (coming back semester after semester) and higher graduation rates (more students who complete degrees).

For more information, contact Harvey at sharvey@occc.edu or call 405-682-1611, ext. 7849.

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