College can be tough enough for traditional students. For those enrolled at community colleges, who often have less academic preparation and face added pressures from having to work to pay for school, the pathway to success can be even more daunting.
“In the community college system, we have open access, which means that any student who desires to come to us can,” says Patty Erjavec, president of Pueblo Community College (Colo.). “But keeping those students is a challenge, and graduating those students is a challenge.”
Five years of falling application numbers is hard to swallow in good times, but when the economy turns sour, as in recent years, the situation goes from disappointment to outright concern.
Such was the case at Wayne State University, in Detroit. The late-2000’s recession struck Michigan especially hard, and with the state unable to maintain prior funding levels, the university’s graduate admissions woes came into even sharper relief.
As if new student orientation wasn’t busy enough, the University of Oregon registrar’s staff was faced with processing thousands of pieces of paper containing Advanced Placement test scores that had arrived not long before the arrival of eager freshmen.
Because Oregon operates on the quarter system, orientation sessions are held throughout July, after AP scores are mailed to the school. That tied up personnel who had to manually enter the scores into Banner and pull files so that each session’s students could be properly advised on which courses to register for.
Laden with application forms, transcripts, financial aid documents, and more, the admissions function is awash in paperwork. As frustrating as it may be for prospective students who have to compile and send such documentation, imagine being on the receiving end.
Like many institutions, Murray State University (Ky.) paid a vendor to back up its data regularly and store it off-site for retrieval in case a disaster struck campus and wiped out hard drives and servers. But university administrators found the service lacking for a variety of reasons: It was pricey in lean times, recovering information was too lengthy a process, and effective testing was practically nonexistent.