ECC students ‘Commit to Complete’
Why complete a community college degree? According to the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society, there are 10 great reasons: 1) earn more, 2) edge out the competition, 3) keep your job, 4) make transferring easy, 5) accomplish a goal, 6) set the example, 7) be healthier, 8) be greener, 9) get involved and give back, and 10) be part of the solution.
This week 175 Ellsworth Community College students signed “Commit to Complete” pledges that they would see their associate degree programs through to completion/graduation. Some of those graduates will then enter the workforce, but the majority will transfer their freshman/sophomore credits from ECC to complete a bachelor’s (or higher) degree elsewhere.
“Commit to Complete” is a national initiative of the Community College Completion Corps, known as “C4.” C4 calls on each Phi Theta Kappa honor society member, and all Iowa community college students, to pledge to complete their own degrees and support other students in doing the same. Iowa community college leaders, trustees, administrators, faculty and staff are also asked to take the C4 pledge to assist students in completing their credentials. Today at the Capitol in Des Moines, lawmakers also signed the pledge in support of Iowa’s community college students.
Statistics show the surest way to land a job in one’s chosen field is to finish college and earn a degree or certificate. Statistics also show earning such a credential increases lifetime earnings by up to $400,000 as well as giving job seekers an advantage during the job hunt over those without a degree or credential. Since people change jobs up to 10 times during their working lives, that’s a long-term advantage! Other benefits of degree completion, as noted above, are these:
- Unemployment for community college graduates is typically 30 percent lower than for high school graduates.
- Many colleges (including ECC) have articulation agreements that guarantee transfer of community college credits when associate degree students enter state universities or private colleges. Students save time and money by not having to repeat courses or take courses they didn’t know they needed.
- Employers, scholarship officials and transfer recruiters value a community college student’s ability to set a goal and accomplish it. By obtaining the degree, students not only accomplish they goal, they have something to show for it.
- Community college students who complete their degree help reverse the national trend in the declining number of college graduates, and they set a great example for children. Children of college graduates are more likely to graduate themselves.
- Research links greater educational attainment to longer life, healthful eating, exercising, and avoiding health risk factors.
- Better-educated people are more likely to promote environmental sustainability.
- Those with a college degree are also more likely to volunteer, vote, contribute to charity, serve on boards, and run for office.
- College degree completers are educated, prepared, and higher-paid employees who, in turn, provide support for federal, state and local governments and help the national workforce be competitive and productive in the global economy.
The C4 signings at Ellsworth Community College were sponsored by ECC’s Alpha Iota Omega Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for community colleges. Iowa’s Phi Theta Kappa Region was founded in 1999 and this year has nearly 2,800 honor students in Iowa’s 15 community colleges. Iowa has been recognized by the international PTK community as a Distinguished Region. The Iowa chapters consistently rank among the Top 100 in the PTK community.
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,280 chapters on college campuses across the U.S., Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates, and U.S. territorial possessions.