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 Host 8th Annual Multicultural Fair

Cleveland State Community College hosted its eighth annual Multicultural Fair on Saturday. The fair, designed to celebrate the different cultures, featured a colorful parade of nations, international studies information, booths featuring different nationalities, and culturally based entertainment, including the St. Therese Spanish Youth Dancers, Mawre and Company African Dance ... (click for more)

Baylor Community Service Group Leaves For Jamaica

Ten service-minded Baylor students left this week to travel to Jamaica over spring break, where they will work in the squatter community of Ferry, an orphanage in Kingston, the Home for the Aged, and primary schools in Kingston.  This year’s group includes James Atkins, Natalie Becker, Erin Blalock, Kathryn Cash, Caroline Combs, Natalie Javadi, Ansley McWilliams, Kate Probasco, ... (click for more)

Hard Freeze Predicted In The Area For Saturday Night

Temperatures are expected to drop Saturday night to 28 degrees or less. Here is the latest report from the National Weather Service:  HARD FREEZE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT EDT /11 PM CDT/ TONIGHT TO 11 AM EDT /10 AM CDT/ SUNDAY... * EVENT... A HARD FREEZE EXPECTED WITH LOWS FROM THE TEENS NORTH TO THE UPPER 20S SOUTH LATE TONIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING. ... (click for more)

Man Charged In Shooting On Sixth Avenue Had Been Shot Himself Last Week; Police Say Incident "Part Of Gang War"

A man charged with attempted first-degree murder on Sixth Avenue Court on Thursday afternoon was shot himself earlier this month. O'Shae Kadaris Smith, 20, of 2114 E. 12th St., is also charged with reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime. He was one of two people shot on Rawlings Street on March 16. Kendre Allen, ... (click for more)

Finley Stadium Needs To Grow Up - And Response

RE:  Finley Stadium Financial Picture Rosy; Beer And Alcohol Sales Approved; AstroTurf Almost Ready and City, County Pitching In $250,000 Each For New Finley Stadium AstroTurf I read a story here five days ago about a rosy future for Finley stadium. It lead me to believe that the stadium was making money and even improvements with donations.  Then we get a short ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Mom’s Parting Instructions

My mother, Helen Exum, went to be with the Lord in late August of last year and, in the way folks do, I was going through some of her files last week when I ran across an envelope with my name on it. Inside was a story and written in her hand were the words, “This is a wonderful story for you to tell!” Not being one to disobey my mother and not about to waylay the wishes of the ... (click for more)