At the end of March, the McHenry County League of Women Voters held a candidates’ night for McHenry County College Trustee aspirants.
At the meeting, one, Karen Tirio, said
Concerning tuition increases, Tirio said her attendance at meetings gave her no indication that students would receive “any extra added value” from the recent $5 per credit hour hike.
She pointed to the 8% drop in enrollment in the last ten years and use of only 50% of the classroom space.
“When less people are seeking your services, it’s not time to raise your prices,” Tirio said.
She also commented on the low graduation rate.
Tirio later went on to win a seat on the College Board.
A week later on March 30th MCC President Vicky Smith sent the following letter to the Northwest Herald:
March 30, 2015
MCC’s Completion Rates Going Strong
There have been some comments from community members about MCC’s completion/success rates.
MCC is committed to continuous improvement, so you should hear the most accurate information about where MCC stands in terms of success.
The definition of “success rate” is a college’s history of helping students graduate, complete their degree or certificate, or transfer into four-year institutions. We also include attaining a specific goal as part of that success.
In 2014, CNNMoney and College Measures provided a chart to help students find their best options for success at community colleges. MCC ranked in the top 4 in Illinois for student success, and in the top 50% of all community colleges in the nation.
Contributions to this success include:
- 1,000% increase in number of students getting college credit while in high school.
- Centralized college and career readiness resources to help students and their families find the coursework needed to pursue different degrees.
- Collaboration with high schools, resulting in a dramatic decrease in the number of students who require developmental math upon entering MCC. This 31% decrease made MCC a contender for the prestigious Bellwether Award.
- Increase in the number of degrees and certificates awarded by 62% since 2010.
- 100% pass rate on state board nursing exams, making nursing students’ five-year pass rates greater than 90%.
- New programs that align with industry need.
These statistics speak for themselves, demonstrating MCC’s focus on student success. The community should be proud.
Vicky Smith, Ed.D., President, McHenry County College
Subsequently, Smith announced her end-of-year retirement.
Some have suggest this letter, which was printed after the April 7th election, but sent the week before, was intended to influence the outcome of the voting.