Snyder disputes the state graduation statistics, noting that the stats count only first-time, full-time students. But he acknowledges that the community college system has lots of work to do to help students earn their degrees within a reasonable span of time.
Ivy Tech is also saddled with a $68 million budget deficit, so Snyder and other Ivy Tech officials have their work cut out for them in more than one way. Snyder says Ivy Tech might have to close a fourth of its facilities and lay off some staff and administrators. It's imperative that Ivy Tech manage its budget difficulties without steep rises in tuition rates. Many Hoosiers who seek higher education already find themselves unable to afford classes at four-year schools.
In Madison County, the state's unwillingness to provide adequate funding to Ivy Tech is illustrated by a campus in-waiting since 2007, when the City of Anderson donated 40 acres for a new Ivy Tech campus off Interstate 69. The state approved a $20 million investment in building a campus on the site — but has never released the money for the project.
Ivy Tech needs the state's help for projects like Anderson's new campus, and Snyder and other leaders of the statewide community college must figure out ways to make classes more convenient and timely to help students earn their degrees more quickly. Snyder says Ivy Tech will redesign its remediation program and offer more accelerated one-year programs. Those are steps in the right direction.