Friday’s piece: Readers’ Feedback | Confession of the Dean of a Community College

When I posted the “word problem” last week – a budget dilemma, basically – I was hoping that some people would find an elegant solution to it.

Judging by the responses I have received, others are facing the same dilemma and are equally stunned.

Grants are helpful, but they usually come with quite strict restrictions. (Cap is a tip to Mackenzie Scott to break that pattern, but alas, he remains an exception.) This is especially true in the case of federal grants that rely on the “not complementary, complementary” rule. In plain English, this means they cannot be used for the way you paid without a grant. They cannot be used to offset cuts in the operating budget.

Regular readers may turn their eyes to another mention of Baumal’s cost-cutting disease, but until we move away from a completely time-based model, we’re going to face such dilemmas across the board. Periodically, we are seeing a marine change in our politics, but it seems to be a risky bet.

The business model needs to change. If there is an example of a college that has crossed the path of greatness, I have not seen it.

Thanks, also, to the wise and worldly readers who have responded with some insights on dual admissions. I suggested that the limited adoption of many dual admissions programs reflected a combination of students ‘uncertainty about the academic path and students’ uncertainty about finances, perhaps rising to the top without knowing that the programs existed.

Some readers have suggested that geography plays a greater role than I have acknowledged. In some parts of the country, the nearest four-year college can be a long way to go. Alternatively, even if it is relatively close, students with transportation problems will not be able to get there. That’s a good point.

Others cited disability as an access problem; A student who is already struggling to get to a community college can effectively find even a relatively close four-year school out of range. Again, a good point.

I haven’t seen many dual admission programs that focus on online enrollment, but it seems they can provide solutions to at least some of the problems. And it is clear that some programs are much more successful than others; I have to dig something to find out their secret.

Dual enrollment posts, and the relative lack of rules around it, “Tell me about it!” Feedback The most common complaint centered on academic integrity and / or instructor credentials. When they are not strictly controlled, enterprising high schools can sometimes take independence.

In my state, programs have grown much faster than state awareness, so the rules are far behind in practice. It turns out that my state is not alone in this.

Thanks to my knowledgeable and worldly readers for writing (or tweeting) in response. You keep me honest, and I’m grateful for that.

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