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Nassau Community College: Failing Our Students

My office released a report last week that found the 2012 graduation and transfer rate at Nassau Community College (NCC) dropped to 28 percent: less than one third of NCC students finished their degrees or transferred to a four-year college. NCC went from being one of the best community colleges in New York in 2009 to one of the worst in 2012, when it ranked 31st out of 35 community colleges in New York State.

 

The steep decline in graduations and transfers at NCC should be of concern to every taxpayer in Nassau County and to the 23,000 students who enroll at NCC hoping to receive a quality college education at a reasonable price. NCC is funded primarily through student tuition, state aid and Nassau County taxpayer money, receiving more than $52 million from the County in 2012.

 

Historically, NCC has provided high quality, affordable education, serving as an essential alternative to costly private colleges and universities for many Nassau residents. It ranked at or above the state average through 2009, and as high a 9th in the State as recently as 2005. The recent results are more than disappointing. NCC has obviously lost its way and is failing our students. This is unacceptable and must change. 

 

The decline in NCC’s performance appears to have occurred during a period of prolonged administrative turmoil following 27 years of stable management at the College. The apparent turmoil stemmed from a conflict between the new president and faculty regarding decision-making on academic matters. This long-running conflict eventually led to the president’s early departure in July 2012.

 

There has been no permanent president at the College since. The current acting president, Dr. Kenneth Saunders, was appointed Acting Officer-in-Charge of the College in July 2012 and Acting President of the College in January 2013. NCC has gone too long without a permanent president with authority and support from the Board of Trustees, to the obvious detriment of thousands of students. 

The appointment of Dr. Saunders or another highly qualified individual to permanent president is long overdue. It is time to restore NCC to being one of the best community colleges in New York.
 

Our students and tax dollars deserve better. 

 

A full version of the report can be found on my website.  http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Comptroller/index.html