Beyond the numbers, RSC brings unity

Jennifer Byrd


A recent study conducted by the Nexus Research and Policy Center and the American Institutes for Research determined that 30 states have some community colleges whose graduates’ median lifetime earnings are less than those earned by high school graduates. The study only included students that didn’t further their post-secondary education beyond an associate’s degree.
The study has been criticized by many, including Donald E. Heller, dean of the College of Education at Michigan State University, who wrote that the report inappropriately relies on “earnings data collected by PayScale, a company that aggregates voluntary salary reports from individuals around the country.”

Group picture with Rowdy Raider
Despite Heller’s conclusion about the data, study authors Jorge Klor de Alva, president of Nexus Research and Policy Center, and Mark Schneider, president of College Measures and an AIR Fellow and vice president, wrote that “even after factoring in the costs that graduates incur when earning the degree, the associate’s degree is a good investment.”
Though the authors’ inference sheds a better light on the figures, the report does not accurately reflect all that a community college offers and threatens to undermine their necessity.

RSC is an eastern Oklahoma County icon. Not only does it provide an affordable education with high-quality professors and administrators, it offers myriad opportunities for people to easily get involved in campus affairs and make a positive impact on the world.

More accurately than numerical data and pie charts, the pages of this paper communicate the importance of CCs: students engaged in free festivities, award winning child care, large-scale student theater productions and dedicated athletes taking pride in their school. RSC also provides opportunities to study abroad and molds future leaders through volunteer work. Earning an associate’s degree should be much more than passing class and receiving a piece of paper; by participating in school events, students build character and gain valuable experience for their future in the real world.

The people of this community appreciate RSC and understand what a great asset it is to eastern Oklahoma County; that’s why they passed a $22 million bond issue. They believe in this college and they want it to continue offering community festivals, Kids’ College, military friendly schedules, senior classes, gym facilities, pool access, and child care, along with degrees.

This college puts the unity in community. All citizens are served, and no report based on earnings alone can fully convey the importance of RSC or a two-year degree. Instead, look to the students, faculty and staff; they are the true measure of value.


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