Part Time + Full Time = Long Time

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“When it comes to choosing between eating and going to college, eating wins.”

Toward the end of 2014 we inquired and were told by Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) that 607  Horizonte alternative high school graduates attended Fall Semester.  We tried to contact all by email. Sixty-five responded with very helpful information.

From the 10 percent of the Horizonte alumni who responded only two had graduated from SLCC.  Some began their college experience in the late 1990s, others since and some as recently as last school year.  All enrolled were working at least part-time (most full-time) and were carrying 9 credit hours or less of college classes.

Horizonte alums did not differ too much from other SLCC attendees who are mostly first generation college students who are averaging 8-9 credit hours per semester and working on average 30 plus hours per week.

Although the intent of new SLCC students is to take four or five semesters and then transfer to a four year institution, Horizonte alums, on average, have been there much longer.  And most say they don’t expect to finish at SLCC “for another two or three years.”

The Horizonte respondents overwhelmingly wish they had more financial assistance.  More than 40 percent wish they had more academic assistance–tutors and/or mentors.  They also overwhelmingly praised their Horizonte advisors and counselors.

Notably only two of the Horizonte respondents are pursuing an applied technology certificate.  And of the 4,o23 degrees and certificates awarded by SLCC in 2014, only 241 were certificates.

Job satisfaction and earnings achievable with an applied technology certificate (taking less than two years to achieve) verses a two year associates (taking Horizonte alums several years to achieve) or four year college degree (which nationally averages more than 6 years to achieve), argue for focusing Horizonte graduates on applied technology certificate opportunities.

Horizonte, Salt Lake City School District’s alternative high school and adult education center, provides graduates scholarships to applied technology programs and college.  We’ll be critically reviewing scholarship awards to determine if support for applied technology isn’t the most effective emphasis.

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