By Gretchen E. Mullin Sawicki
In recent times, more and more people have pondered whether it’s worth the time and money to go to college. The pandemic certainly accentuated feelings of uncertainty; however, even before our current tumultuous time, there was a decline in the public’s belief in the value of education.
Soaring tuition costs and the proliferation of free massive open online courses (MOOCs) threw competitive arrows at our educational institutions. Students now had the option to self-direct their education for free. Administrators nimbly responded to this competitive threat by proving that our value far exceeded a free price tag.
By renewing our efforts to provide individualized learning support and assessment both inside and outside the classroom to address the obstacles that prevent learning, we met the challenge and then some. Our education transformed with a laser focus on student success. We built flexibility into scheduling, industry-informed curriculum with internships, capstones and project-based learning, super-supported student services, and opportunities for connection, collaboration, and care. While self-directed study is student-facilitated learning, our education is collaborative, using faculty-led learning in the classroom and student- and college-led learning outside of the classroom.
With this comprehensive learning model, NHTI incorporates wrap-around services so that as you are always learning – whether it be online, hybrid, or onsite; students have access to food pantries, emergency funds, 12-month housing, leadership training, e-sports and athletics, mental health support, laptop loaner programs, and tutoring services included in the cost of our tuition. The new competition led to these creative strategies to enhance curriculum relevancy, accelerated ways for students to graduate on time, and increased engagement with students to support their personal and intellectual growth.
Our educational value is for all students, not just those with computers. We provide learning for those who want to start careers, transfer to 4-year colleges, upskill at current jobs, or change careers altogether. We do this by individualizing your experience with a course or two that will help promote you, a 6-week intensive microcredential that teaches in-demand skill sets, and 1-year certificates or 2-year associate degrees that you can transfer to universities or colleges or translate into careers.
We allow technology to support your education but do not rely on this alone; rather, we build a massive support system of people from the faculty to the tutor to the peer to the advisor to the athletic director to the president, all of whom encourage, cajole, nudge, and mentor you to graduation or completion of your individual goals.
And, if this doesn’t sway you to start or finish your education through NHTI, also know that the benefits of a college education extend far beyond the monetary benefits you earn from completion. College graduates have higher levels of happiness, better job satisfaction, lower poverty, better job safety, better health, an increased life expectancy, and greater community involvement (Lumina Foundation).
Why college? Why not.