Washington State has been the headquarters of large, booming companies such as Boeing, Microsoft, Alaska Airlines and many other iconic businesses. High-wage, blue collared jobs are still available, by why has the percentage of high-school students attending college dropped?
According to the Seattle Times issue released on September 23, Washington has dropped from the eleventh highest college attendance in 1992 to the forty-sixth in the country in 2008.
The study shows that the national average for college enrollment after high school lies at just around 54%. Washington currently sits at 51% enrollment. This is a significant decrease from the statistic taken in 1992, which was approximately 58% enrollment.
The Puget Sound business landscape has undergone dramatic changes throughout the years as high-tech companies developed. Many college graduates who have obtained high-paying jobs were from California, the East Coast, India, China and South Korea. Washington educated students are not climbing these corporate ladders as frequently as out-of-state recruits.
Although these prospects are grim on brief evaluation, Bellevue College harbors many students with the intention of completing at least the first two years of a degree.
At BC, “enrollments increased in the early years of economic downturn in 2008. Various age groups have displayed enrollment improvement over the past few years,” said Patricia James, the Associate Vice President of the ESP, (Effectiveness and Strategic Planning).
State universities are high in expense, encouraging students to choose the more cost conscientious path available at Bellevue College.
The same study that equated the state rankings of high-school graduates who attended college also suggested explanations for the drop in college enrollment throughout Washington. One of these justifications was the element that a strengthened reliance on community colleges and two-year degrees has been established. More than half of college-bound students go to a two-year school. Community college completion rates in Washington are better than the national average, but lower than those at universities.
As represented in The Seattle Times, Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle mentioned that, “we have grown accustomed to a strong two-year system, we have grown lazy in our sense of obligation to push toward four-year programs as central pieces of out higher education strategy,” he said.
Records at Bellevue College show that students enrolled in two-year systems are not as “lazy” as Carlyle suggests. Several baccalaureate programs are available directly on campus, including Interior Design, Healthcare technology and Radiation and Imaging Sciences.
BC has more bachelor’s degrees in development. “We are thrilled about the bachelor’s degree we will be offering in the fall of 2014. Our Bachelor’s in Applied Science in Biological and Environmental technology will be a wonderful addition to our curriculum, allowing many students to get a science bachelor’s degree here at Bellevue College,” said Sandy Walkenhorst, the Science Advisor at BC.
According to Walkenhorst, students at UW are frequently advised to come to Bellevue College to complete prerequisites for graduate science programs and professional schools. “Bellevue College will continue to stand out as an outstanding college in preparing students for science degrees,” said Walkenhorst.
Gita Bangera teaches Genetics research classes that many students have enjoyed. “Many have said that their experience in these classes helped them define what they wanted to major in, or what they wanted to do in their career. Some were excited about their future plans,” said Walkenhorst.
Bellevue College has facilitated a home where students can carry through desired degrees with accessibility and motivation. With new resources available to the student body in light of the grants that have been received by the Technology, Math, and Science departments, Bulldogs can expect to achieve their goals and uphold a high academic presence in Washington.