In a June 12, 2011, story in the Chronicle of Higher Education Go to Community College, Earn a Bachelor's Degree: Florida Likes That Combination , Jennifer Gonzalez, reports on the strengths and weaknesses of community colleges offering four-year degrees. The Common Sense Institute of New Jersey, a new think tank, suggests that four-year institutions should not be afraid of the mission creep, but welcome it as a means to provide more educational opportunity at a lower cost.
According to The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, New Jersey has the lowest Import/Export Ratio of college-going students. New Jersey leads the nation in the ratio of college students leaving home state to study. New Jersey is a great state, but does not appear to serve the citizens well in higher education. Arizona, on the other hand, records the highest Import/Export ratio.
Cost and quality must be perceived in the marketplace as two important variables.
Community colleges serve a powerful role in providing educational opportunity to students for whom time and money are unavoidable considerations. They should not have athletics teams or offer bachelor’s degrees. These dilute their ability to give students a cost-effective technical or vocational education in an environment geared toward allowing budget-minded students to live and study close to their homes. In addition, open admission allows service to non-traditional students, or those who need a second academic chance.