CHEYENNE -- The director of the Wyoming Community College Commission says the state should require remedial courses for affected students while still in high school rather than waiting until they enter college.
Director Jim Rose also says school officials should work to get students through the state's community colleges more quickly in order to save the students money and get them into the workforce or on the path to a higher degree.
Rose made his pitch during Friday's Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Little America Hotel.
The director noted that the average debt nationally for a student leaving college with a bachelor's degree is $26,000. He said too many community college students are taking too long to earn a two-year degree or certificate.
"We have to be able to take students more quickly through the system, and first of all to encourage more students to participate,” Rose said.
Rose threw out a number of sobering statistics during his talk.
He said one-third of merit scholars in the Hathaway Scholarship Program need remedial work when they enter college. However, the prospects for a student who takes a remedial courses in college isn't that bright, he noted.
Rose said only two of five remedial students go on to complete a credit course in their remedial subject within one year.
He said dual and concurrent enrollment, or high school students taking college courses, is one remedy to the students’ need for remedial courses.
Some high school students already take remedial classes at community colleges to experience the secondary-level work that will be required.
Rose said the ability for high school students to earn credits for college classes can be motivational -- providing a way to avoid the traditional "wasted senior year."
Last month, Rose returned his focus toward community college commission director full-time after having pulled double-duty as interim director of the Wyoming Department of Education.
Rose was appointed to the education department position by Gov. Matt Mead after state legislators passed a law in January that removed many of the administrative duties of state Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill and gave them to the newly created director position.
Rose left the department post after Richard Crandall was named permanent director and assumed duties early last month.
Rose was a professor of engineering for 18 years before he became director of the community college commission.