Nationally, less than one-half of students entering community colleges complete degrees within six years. In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama laid out his vision of increasing college graduation rates to 60 percent by 2020, and helping the nation rise up from its 12th-place ranking of countries with the highest graduation rates in the world. Within the State University of New York, community colleges educate about 55 percent of all undergraduate students, and on October 3, all 30 SUNY and seven CUNY community colleges will work together to promote degree completion in New York State.
On Wednesday, October 3, Cayuga Community College will host a series of activities to encourage students to complete their degrees as part of the state-wide Completion Day, an initiative of all 37 community colleges in New York State. The purpose of the event is to send a simple message: Students who complete an associate degree have better prospects for jobs, scholarships and transfer to four-year schools.
Students on Cayuga’s Auburn and Fulton campuses will hear from alumni about how completing their degrees have created opportunities in their lives and will talk through some of the challenges they face in completing their own degrees. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., students will be invited to sign pledges announcing their commitment to complete their degrees and get their photo taken in a graduation cap, which will serve as a visual reminder of their commitment to graduate.
At 1 p.m., the College will show a live webcast of a new video, featuring prominent community college alumni, including Cayuga alumna and New York Times best-selling author Kim Edwards, who discuss the importance of their education. Then, the campus community will watch a live videostream of keynote speaker, Isa Adney, author of Community College Success.
For more information on the activities planned at both campuses, visit: www.cayuga-cc.edu/completion.
The state’s community colleges have adopted the slogan of “Commit. Complete. Compete” for Oct. 3 to emphasize that graduation puts students in a better position to compete for scholarships, internships and jobs in an uncertain economy. SUNY and CUNY schools are sharing statistics and information with students to boost the case for completion, such as:
- Students who complete an associate degree can expect to earn $400,000 more in a lifetime than a high school graduate. For those who transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree, the figure rises to $900,000. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
- An August 2012 report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce finds that almost half of the jobs lost in the recession have been recovered and virtually all of those jobs required some form of postsecondary education. (Source: “The College Advantage: Weathering the Economic Storm”)
- New York residents who transfer directly from a SUNY or CUNY two-year college with an associate degree are guaranteed entry to a four-year SUNY college. (Source: SUNY Transfer Guarantee Program Guidelines, Document Number: 3303)