Tulane should accept community college credit

Angelica Nahalka, Senior Staff Writer

This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

Taking summer classes is an excellent way to check off basic prerequisites, get ahead in one’s major and explore new fields. Tulane students hoping to save money by taking these classes at community college, however, will find that the university does not accept credit from two-year universities. Tulane only transfers credit from regionally accredited four-year institutions. Not accepting supplemental community college credits limits students’ educational opportunities and reflects an undeserved negative outlook on two-year colleges.

The additional cost of classes at four-year colleges is a deterrent for students who would otherwise choose to enrich themselves academically. Taking a three-credit summer course at Tulane would cost $3,321, and around $1,000 in-state at a public university. The average cost of a three-credit hour course at a community college is about $400.

Though more affordable, courses taken at community colleges are not necessarily lesser in value than those taken at four-year universities. Two-year colleges specialize in foundational classes that give students the background to succeed at four-year universities. Just as the quality of four-year colleges is a spectrum, so is the quality of two-year schools. Accreditation requires these colleges to adhere to rigorous quality standards in order to prepare their students to transfer to four-year colleges. There is no reason a course from an accredited community college cannot replace Tulane’s equivalent on a transcript.

For many, the value of a community college education goes beyond its low cost. My mother went to a community college when I was a child and was able to greatly improve our quality of life with the doors her degree opened. The classes taught at community colleges can change lives. Unfortunately, Tulane is not alone in turning its nose up at community college credit. Over 10 percent of community college students transferring to four-year colleges are unable to receive any credit for the coursework. Research by the City Colleges of New York found that the difficulty of transferring credits, not a lack of preparation due to inferior credentials, is a significant impediment to the success of community college students.

Tulane does award some credit to community college students transferring to the university, but extending this policy to the rest of the student body would prove beneficial. With a foundation of basic summer courses under their belts, students could take a greater number of specialized upper-level classes. The value of a four-year college lies in these courses, which teach more complex subject matter and allow for greater contact with highly-skilled faculty. Expanding students’ exposure to advanced topics would allow them to benefit even more from Tulane’s world-class teaching.

There is a reason President Obama wants to make community college free for all Americans. Two-year colleges provide quality education with the potential to transform their students’ career prospects. In accepting community college credits, Tulane could give many students a new means of enriching their education.





Angelica is a junior at Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected].

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