Families all across America are looking for ways to get the best value for their education dollars. They are weighing the merits of colleges and universities against the investment required to earn a degree from those institutions.
For students who plan to earn a bachelor's degree, one of the most economical moves possible is to complete the first two years of that four-year degree at their community college. It can save Mohave County families more than $12,000 in the cost of tuition and fees alone.
While families are concerned about finances, they are equally concerned about the quality of education and not always certain that a community college education is equivalent to that offered at the universities. Mohave County families will be interested to know that MCC has the highest possible recommendation - the endorsement of the universities.
All three of our state universities and 14 other colleges and universities have agreements with MCC that accept the associate of arts degree from MCC as equivalent to the first two years of lower-division courses they offer at their institutions. They have analyzed the curriculum at MCC and compared it against their own, and found it to be on par.
They recognize that students who successfully complete the associate of arts, associate of business and associate of science at MCC are as well prepared for upper division coursework as the students who spend their freshman and sophomore years at the university.
More than a quarter of the faculty at MCC hold doctorate degrees, more than half have master's degrees and the remainder have bachelor's degrees or certifications in specialized technical fields. Nearly two-thirds have worked in the fields in which they instruct, bringing practical experience to the classroom.
Many highly successful people started their education at a community college before going on to a university for a baccalaureate. They include astronaut Eileen Collins, news anchor Jim Lehrer, Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard and James Sinegal, CEO of Costco.
Of course, MCC has its own successful graduates, including Dr. Aaron Knudson, anthropologist Eric Cox and Julie Fahnel, a med-evac and emergency room nurse, to name just a few.
As MCC concluded its 39th commencement on May 14, 779 more certificates and degrees were presented to students from throughout Mohave County and surrounding areas. How many of them will make the "famous community college graduates" list? Time will tell.
Michael Kearns is the president of Mohave Community College, which serves the people of Mohave County from four campuses and through distance education. You can send questions for him by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to: 1971 Jagerson Ave., Kingman, AZ 86409.