Area Schools Could Benefit From Community College Proposal

Ivy Tech Community College says they may become more accessible if one of President Barack Obama’s proposals makes it through Congress.

The President announced last week his intent to significantly reduce the cost of attending community college. The multi-billion dollar program intends to largely pay for the cost of the first two years of tuition for students maintaining a certain grade point average. This could have implications locally.

Ivy Tech Regional Chancellor Dr. Thomas Coley says he believes it will create more opportunity for students if signed into law.

“It would also enhance further what Ivy Tech is already doing with schools, in terms of dual credit through enrollment which then will further impact how we do programming with the schools to make sure the transition is much more effective,” says Coley.

An increase in enrollment would likely be seen at Ivy Tech. That means if the proposal is approved, the community college system would need to increase its hiring of professors to compensate for the subsequent increase in student population. Coley also mentioned that building projects could also be undertaken.

He says attainment in higher education is below the national average in Indiana, but the change may allow Ivy Tech to better direct students into areas requiring a highly skilled workforce.

“So in our programs like automation, machine tooling technology, etc. those are areas which we’ll certainly better align and target the kind of training we’ll provide, we currently provide, and we’ll expand upon,” says Coley.

While action is currently expected at the federal level, Coley anticipates state government would have a say in the matter. He says there is always an ongoing dialogue between community college’s and elected representatives.