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.



Troy Kemp To Speak On "Understanding Boys" At Montessori School

Troy Kemp, Director of the National Center for the Development of Boys will speak at The Montessori School this Friday, from 9-10:30 a.m. His topic will be “Understanding Boys.” Mr. Kemp, former Associate Headmaster of The McCallie School, took on the role of Executive Director of the Center this July. According to the Center’s website, his first efforts have been around “organizing, ... (click for more)

Cleveland City Schools Presents This Week's Calendar

Cleveland High School celebrates  College App Week .  The goal is for seniors to complete at least one college application or scholarship during this week. All students & faculty are encouraged to wear their favorite college shirts. There will be prize drawings for all students wearing their favorite college gear. Seniors who show proof they have applied ... (click for more)

DA Pinkston Files Petition To Declare 2 Gangs A Public Nuisance

District Attorney General Neal Pinkston filed a petition on Monday asking that two Chattanooga gangs, the Gangster Disciples and the Grape Street Crips, and their members be declared public nuisances. General Pinkston is also "asking that injunctive relief be given to the law-abiding residents of East Lake by establishing a Safety Zone that covers most of their neighborhood." ... (click for more)

2 Boaters Die In Suspected Carbon Monoxide Poisoning On Chickamauga Lake

Two boaters and their pet were pronounced dead at the scene of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning on Chickamauga Lake.  Kristy D. James and Mike L. Richardson of Chattanooga were reported missing to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office earlier in the day by a concerned family member. The boaters had not been heard from since Saturday. Tennessee Wildlife Resources ... (click for more)

Patrol Cars Donation To Kevin Muhammad's Nation Of Islam Sets A Dangerous Precedent

Re: City Police donating two patrol cars to Kevin Muhammad's Nation of Islam: While I know it's unpopular to mention the wisdom of separation of church and state, this sets a dangerous precedent and should meet with concern from everyone who values religious and secular freedom. What's next? Southern Baptists getting old city parking scooters to patrol church parking lots ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Pitch Called ‘The Defector’

When Jose Fernandez was killed early Sunday morning in a boating accident, he was 24 years old yet had already lived a life much larger than almost all old men. He had spent part of a year in an unimaginably cruel Cuban prison, this when he only 14 years old and sandwiched in an inhumane cell among grown criminals. There were murders daily – in his very cell -- and nobody cared. ... (click for more)