Southeast Community College has won accreditation through the next decade. SCC spokesman Stu Osthertun says the two-year college with campuses in Lincoln, Milford and Beatrice is now reaccredited through the spring of 2023.
“It validates what the college is doing,” Osthertun says. “It speaks very highly of the institution, the administration, staff and it’s obviously important for parents and students to invest in a higher education option that is fully accredited.”
He says they’ll provide a progress report to the Higher Learning Commission in 2017 as part of a process looking at assessment of programs and student learning outcomes.
Osthertun says accreditation is important in several areas, including how a community college tracks financial aid it provides to students.
“If you fall out of accreditation, you’re very likely to not be eligible for federal financial aid,” Osthertun says. “With more than 80% of our student body on some sort of financial assistance, that’s huge.”
The Southeast Community College Board met this week at the Milford Campus to examine the potential for expanded programs in the budget for this coming year.
Osthertun says there are fewer proposals for expanded programs this year than in the past. He says that’s a product of a downturn in enrollment that community colleges are facing. SCC officials cited the fact high school graduating classes have declined in size and that trend is expected to continue for a few more years.
Osthertun says, “It’s this year’s 8th grade class that is the smallest class, so not until those folks graduate high school are we going to experience and see an uptick in the number of high school graduates in the state.”
Community colleges, universities, state colleges and private institutions are competing for students among that smaller pool of graduates.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice