College completion, an ever growing issue, needs to be a priority, according to a Jan. 23 report released by the National Commission on Higher Education Attainment.
Queens College has a large majority of part time, financially independent students, but some of them find it difficult to keep up with their studies as they juggle their work lives.
When students can’t find classes that fit in with their schedule, they drop out. In 2010, 26 percent of 1,352 students from QC graduated in four years and 51 percent graduated in six years, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
QC statistics fall short as compared to other public universities that have a percentage of 60 or higher when it comes to students who graduate within the four to six year margin.
“Our course schedules aren’t designed with part-timers in mind, nor has there been a concerted college-wide effort to accommodate [them] by offering, say, more courses as partially or fully online” Eva Fernandez, assistant vice provost and the director of the Center of Learning and Teaching said.
The other issue at hand is that once students are able to find the right courses, they struggle in finding a balance.
“In my situation, I pay for classes out of my pocket so I need to work long hours for my job. That causes a problem because since I’m working the long hours, I now become a part-time student which means it will take me a much longer time to finish college,” sophomore, Hemalini Paltoo said.
Jennifer Jarvis, assistant vice president of student affairs, said that even full-time students have problems like these and that the issue facing part-time students is much more difficult.
“It’s all a matter of the availability and balancing act,” Jarvis said.
This would be made easier if it were less difficult for students to contact aid offices on campus, Fernandez said.
“Our support offices and probably most of our departmental offices tend not to be open at times that would be convenient for part-time students who take evening or weekend classes, and while we’ve moved some former paperwork to online, we are still dependent on paper forms for certain transactions” Fernandez said.
Roshney Licorish, senior, majors in psychology and minors in biology. She has two jobs on campus: at The Summit’s front desk and in the bookstore.
As a working and financially independent student, Licorish said that apart from keeping up her grades, she has to worry about paying bills.
“I have to worry about my electricity bill, how I pay for my rent; all these things could hinder my ability to graduate but I had to learn to manage it all and be disciplined,” Licorish said.