Eric Spangenberg missed the mark in his recent guest column “How to graduate more students with bachelor’s degrees” [Opinion, May 24]. Shifting money from two-year colleges to universities is no answer.
We must increase state funding for all higher education so all students have a chance at college and a better life. Employers need graduates with all levels of college education, not just bachelor’s degrees. That’s why our state just adopted a goal that 70 percent of adults have a post-secondary credential by 2023.
Community and technical colleges don’t hinder bachelor-degree production; they augment it. We open doors to bachelor’s degree attainment for students otherwise unable to enroll in a university, including students who can’t afford the higher tuition at universities, first-generation students needing the personal touch of a two-year school, and students who struggled in high school but need a second chance to get into a university.
In Washington state, 43 percent of community and technical college students intend to transfer, unlike the 80 percent national statistic the Spangenberg uses. And yet an August 2013 study found that 40 percent of all bachelor’s degree graduates at Washington public universities started at two-year colleges.
Robbing Peter to pay Paul does not help bachelor’s degree production. Let’s stick together.
Marty Brown, Executive Director of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges