ERIC Number: ED341412
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Nov-14
Reference Count: N/A
The Community College and Vocational Education: Issues of Access and Retention.
The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York has one of the highest student retention rates of any community college in the country, graduating more than 62% of those enrolled. Nationwide, community college retention rates average 35%, and at some colleges, attrition is as high as 70%. While community colleges provide access to education for an increasingly diverse group of students, access on its own means little if students are not retained until they achieve their educational goals. From FIT's perspective, the secret to retention is the provision of vocational and technical education from the student's first day on campus. FIT students begin by studying their chosen specialty and ultimately progress to more general courses after their first 2 years, in contrast to the traditional view of education which regards proper learning as progressing from the general to the specific. At FIT, vocational education is the tool for teaching reading, mathematics, science, ethics, critical thinking, management, and other subjects. Vocational education allows the school to adapt to the learning styles of those who have not succeeded in traditional verbal-style learning. The myth that general education is more valuable than vocational and technical education limits access to those with different learning styles. The results at FIT have been positive; 90% of the graduates available for employment are working full time. The high retention rate at FIT is a result not of being a specialized college, but from providing a vocational/technical education from the start of a student's career. (JMC)
Descriptors: Academic Persistence, Access to Education, Cognitive Style, College Curriculum, College Role, Community Colleges, General Education, Nontraditional Education, School Holding Power, Student Attrition, Student Costs, Technical Institutes, Trade and Industrial Education, Two Year Colleges, Vocational Education
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Fashion Inst. of Tech., New York, NY.
Identifiers: Fashion Institute of Technology NY
Note: Testimony presented before the New York State Assembly Committee on Higher Education Public Hearing (Albany, NY, November 14, 1991).