Dr. John Schwenn: Why Affordability Is Important

Thursday, July 25, 2013 - by Dr. John Schwenn, President Dalton State College
Dr. John Schwenn
Dr. John Schwenn

How do you know when you’ve attained the American Dream? No matter how you define the dream, I’m sure it includes something about prosperity and the ability to provide for self and family. The drive to be self-sufficient has motivated us since the colonies were settled more than 400 years ago. 

Many consider college education to being essential to achieving the American Dream, but student loan debt can have the effect of an anvil around the neck for the freshly minted college graduate trying to make it in the world.

Access to college education has always been critical to the mission of Dalton State College. It is the reason we are here. This month we recognize the 50th anniversary of the signing of the charter that created Dalton Junior College as a point of access to the University System of Georgia for the residents of Northwest Georgia. 

More than half of our students represent the first generation in their family to go to college. An attribute common among many first generation students is that they will not leave home to go away to school, so if we were not here, these students could very well never receive a college education.

We know that proximity to home is important to access, but no less so is affordability. Many first generation students come from working class families with limited financial resources for higher education. According to the US Department of Education, the average cost to attend a four-year college is $10,863; the price tag at Dalton State is less than half that. For the 2011-2012 academic year (the most recent year for which figures are available), the average net price to attend Dalton State for a year was $3,776 which is the amount paid out of pocket after financial aid and scholarships. The net price covers expenses including tuition, fees, books, supplies, and the weighted average for room, board, and transportation.

In addition to being a low cost provider of higher education, Dalton State has also been named a “Low Debt School” by The Institute for College Access and Success.” Students graduating from a low debt school are good for the economy because instead of paying down a large student loan debt, they have dollars available to buy cars, houses, and expand their families.  

On the other hand, graduates saddled with massive debt may wait longer to marry, start families, or buy homes as more of their dollars are funneled to paying down student loan debt.

Do you know the significance of the number 1955 to Dalton State? No, it’s not the year we were chartered (that was 1963), nor is it our street number on College Drive (650). It is the cost of tuition and fees per semester for an in-state student taking 15 hours at Dalton State this upcoming academic year. That’s less than $4,000 for the year. At that price, a student will receive instruction from professional faculty (no teaching assistants), in small classes (average size: 26), from an institution that is home to outstanding faculty, including the current US Professor of the Year (Dr. Christy Price), and will be part of the historic return of Roadrunner basketball. 

For these and many other reasons, we think that a Dalton State education is an unparalleled value in higher education.



Cleveland State Community College To Hold Commencement On Saturday, May 7

Approximately 500 degrees and certificates will be awarded during Cleveland State Community College’s 51 st Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 7, at 10 a.m. in the L. Quentin Lane Gymnasium. “Nothing is more satisfying or rewarding to an educator than to see students learn, grow and reach their potential,” stated Dr. Bill Seymour, CSCC president. “They are why we are ... (click for more)

2nd Annual TN History For Kids Will Be Held In August

The second annual TN History for Kids/Hamilton County Dept Education history tent revival will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 9. This year's event will include speakers on Frederick Douglass, the Scopes Trial, Cherokee culture, the Federal Reserve, the Civil War battles of Chattanooga, the Parthenon and Greek culture, De Soto, the history of Islam, the Chickamaugans and Nickajack, ... (click for more)

Federal Judge Rules That Hutcheson Medical Center And Its Trustees Owe Erlanger $36,379,968.20

A federal judge at Rome, Ga., has ruled that the Hospital Authority of Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties and Hutcheson Medical Center are liable to pay Erlanger Health System $36,379,968.20. Judge Harold Murphy, in a 90-page opinion, discarded a counter-claim brought by Hutcheson against Erlanger. He directed that Erlanger be paid $20 million for money it spent while managing ... (click for more)

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson Hospitalized; 2 Cleveland Police Officers Injured After Altercation With Man With History Of Assaults

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson and two Cleveland Police officers were injured Thursday while intervening in a domestic assault in progress. While driving on 25 th St. N.W. Sheriff Watson witnessed the assault, it was stated. When the sheriff tried to intervene, the man involved in the assault attacked him. During the scuffle the man struck Sheriff Watson numerous times, ... (click for more)

Jill Levine Is An Educational Rock Star

No one has covered the Hamilton County Department of Education drama better than Roy Exum.  Thank you, Roy, but I take issue with your unnamed sources.  Professional jealousy and sour grape darts should not be anonymous.   HCDE is so dysfunctional, and there is good cause to place this public organization under a microscope, dissect it into pieces and discard all ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Cancer Is Not A Battle

I read a marvelous essay not long ago where the author urged, “Stop telling the lie that cancer is a battle … a battle implies a fair fight, and there was nothing fair about my cancer or the cancer that took the life of my friend. Those experiences were about as fair as getting hit by a car – and nobody says people lose their battles with automobiles.” Mary Elizabeth Williams, ... (click for more)