Article by Imani R. Lewis and Nadia Kaczkowski | Owl Staff
Has loss of transportation, birth of a child, or unemployment kept you from completing your education? If so, you’re part of a nationwide trend.
Of four-year and two-year institutions, average national retention rates- the number of students completing their degrees-have gone down as much 12% for reasons like these.
To assist Maryland out of this trend, Governor O’Malley man-dated the Completion Agenda which states that out of all adult Maryland residents, “55 % would hold certification or a degree of some kind by 2025.”
Dr. Annette Haggray, Director of Instruction here at HCC, is actively involved in seeing this goal through at HCC. Dr. Hag-gray states, “We, along with 16 other MD community colleges, have pledged to increase the student retention of our individual institutions by 12% this year,” meaning more graduates.
“First, we must try to ‘diagnose’ the issues — financial, academic, or personal — that individual students face,” says Dr. Deborah Cruise, HCC’s Director of Student Development, “Then, we can provide solutions that are tailored to the student.”
In addition to efforts in student support, there will also be actions concerning academic policy, creation of work certificates for employment’s sake, reverse transfer degrees, and even dual admissions with four-year colleges.
Having begun in August 2011 and currently in effect, HCC no longer charges the $25 Graduation Fee that used to be required. Also, in support of student success, HCC created an alternative to the traditionally scheduled nursing programs by offering accelerated daytime, evening, and weekend nursing programs.
In addition to these initiatives already in place, HCC’s other initiatives are currently in the process of completion. HCC is maintaining, in hopes of increasing, “the articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities,” which will allow students the knowledge of exactly what credits will transfer between schools, financially and academically benefiting students.
Also incorporated are on-going initiatives and projects, such as researching “the relationship between tutoring and academic achievement” and “hiring additional advisors to identify students who are close to completing a degree/ certificate, currently enrolled or enrolled last semester and not this semester, and con -tact them to encourage completion.”
Starting in the Spring and Fall semesters of 2012, members of the campus faculty and administrative staff will come together to evaluate current institutional methods and implement new initiatives in order to achieve the Completion Agenda in the future.
What motivates you to graduate from HCC?
“Knowing that in the near future, I will have a career that will support me through my whole lifespan.”
Major: Human Resources
“Knowing that there are not many options without a degree that pay well. For my own well-being, it will help me do what I want to do.”
“As an education major, transferable credits are really important because many four-year universities accept [an] associate’s [degree}.”
Major: Criminal Justice
“I want to be able to pursue what I am interested in. A college degree will give me the credentials to do what I want to do, go where I want to go, and earn money at the same time.”