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College Success Arizona recommends state to reinstate community college funding

July 18th, 2018

This article was originally published in the Phoenix Business Journal , and is used with permission.

By  Angela Gonzales   – Senior Reporter, Phoenix Business Journal


What does “college material” actually mean? That a student is ready for university studies? Or can it mean a community college?

Rich Nickel , president and CEO of  College Success Arizona , said the narrow image of higher education is not good for Arizona’s economy at a time when employers are screaming for skilled workers.

He contends Arizona’s education leaders and policymakers must build a college-going culture that is more inclusive to other higher-education pathways, such as community college.

His goal is to help all Arizonans gain access to and attain a post-secondary credential. Here’s what he had to say about how community colleges should play a bigger role in building Arizona’s workforce.

What role do community colleges play in developing a qualified workforce for Arizona?

Community colleges offer affordable and accessible post-secondary programs that help people of all ages earn valuable workforce credentials. In rural areas, community colleges are a vital link to workforce success.

Why should the state restore financial support for Maricopa and Pima community college systems?

For every $1 of public money invested in community colleges, taxpayers see a $4 return on investment due to tax revenues and reduced government spending.

How does (or should)  Maricopa Community Colleges  play a role in reaching Arizona’s 60 percent higher education attainment goal by 2030?

Upwards of 1 million more Arizonans need a post-secondary credential by 2030 to reach 60 percent attainment, which means that all certificate and degree pathways must grow. Maricopa is vital to this effort, serving 200,000+ students annually.

How are Arizonans rethinking the definition of “going to college?

Increasingly, Arizonans see post-secondary certificate programs as a pathway to workforce competitiveness and economic mobility. In 2016, 42,025 certificates were awarded in Arizona.

How can associate degrees and certificates serve as pathways that lead to greater economic opportunities in Arizona?

Arizonans who hold these credentials, or a bachelor’s degree, are more likely to have “good jobs” that pay at least $35,000 annually (under age 45) or $45,000 annually (age 45 and older) and higher earnings.

Closer look – Higher education credentials awarded in Arizona

Certificates (less than 4 years)

  • 2012: 38,894
  • 2013: 36,814
  • 2014: 38,211
  • 2015: 40,053
  • 2016: 42,025

Associate degree

  • 2012: 20,842
  • 2013: 20,357
  • 2014: 40,008
  • 2015: 35,925
  • 2016: 31,764

Bachelor’s degree

  • 2012: 29,832
  • 2013: 32,502
  • 2014: 60,283
  • 2015: 57,731
  • 2016: 55,676


Source: IPEDS


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