Attending College of DuPage can help ease student debt
The decision to pursue higher education is a personal one. Some seek personal growth. Others desire to prepare for a career.
Whatever the motivation, I believe that all Community College District 502 residents should consider attending College of DuPage before any other institution. This is because everything we do at the college is geared toward giving students the best prospects for a lifetime of success.
College of DuPage provides an opportunity to obtain an education at an affordable cost. As someone whose background is in finance, it concerns me that the price of higher education can be secondary or an afterthought when selecting a school.
But college debt is real. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports that Americans struggle more with student loan debt today than either credit card or automobile debt.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, average student loan debt is more than $30,000. By minimizing that debt, students can set up a financial future with fewer constraints.
College of DuPage offers a variety of scholarships for new and existing students. For example, we offer the merit-based Scholars Award Program for high school graduates who go directly to college. This program includes the Presidential Scholars Award that covers the cost of up to 64 credit hours of in-district tuition. Applications for this award are currently being accepted.
Cost is just one aspect of the entire package. College of DuPage offers a high-quality educational experience with professors who bring their real-world experience into the classroom.
For instance, before coming to COD, Tom Carter, professor of physics and last year's College-Wide Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member, spent seven years as a diver for the U.S. Navy. Subsequently, he was employed as a research physicist at Fermilab and an engineer in the telecommunications industry.
Tom works closely with his students, promoting and arranging summer internships with national laboratories and research universities. He is the faculty adviser to the COD Robotics Team, which last year placed ninth in NASA's annual Robotic Mining Competition, overtaking dozens of renowned four-year universities.
Tom also supports the COD chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and is one of the organizers of STEMCON, the annual celebration of science, technology, engineering and math that brings thousands to campus.
Tom is representative of an experienced faculty that spends time with their students in order to help them succeed.
Combine this with our facilities, which are on par with those at four-year institutions. It is always gratifying to hear from first-time visitors how beautiful and modern our campus is. In fact, if you have never been to our Glen Ellyn campus or have not returned in more than 10 years, I invite you to see what we have to offer. I believe that you will be amazed.
Now add in the small class sizes, a vast array of student clubs and organizations, and extensive support services. It's an extraordinary list of opportunities and advantages that are available to our students.
Success at a community college also bodes well for students who transfer to continue their education.
Research published in the Teachers College Record, a peer-reviewed academic journal of education published by Teachers College, Columbia University, showed evidence that community college students who transfer to a four-year college are as likely to succeed as their four-year college counterparts.
In addition, some studies have shown that passing gatekeeper classes, such as initial college-level writing and math courses, can markedly increase the probability of earning a degree, either at the associate or baccalaureate level.
Professors at College of DuPage focus on teaching and learning as opposed to research. Small class sizes allow for individualized attention. Consequently, our students have a significant advantage in completing their initial college-level courses. This better positions them for future academic success.
Selecting a college is one of life's major decisions. College of DuPage offers high-quality instruction and low cost while providing a solid launching point for any student -- no matter the ultimate goal. It is the smart choice. Why go anywhere else?
• Brian Caputo is president of the College of DuPage. His column appears monthly in Neighbor.