Buffalo State statistics are cause for concern
In the March 2 Another Voice, the president of SUNY Buffalo State called for the governor to restore the “maintenance of effort,” meaning, in simple terms: give us more money because of rising costs.
Katherine Conway-Turner’s call is to make “college affordable for all.” U.S. News and World Report states Buffalo State’s four-year graduation rate is 25 percent. Its overall graduation rate is 49 percent, per the U.S. Department of Education. The call should also be to make college more valuable to its graduates and their careers.
Can the college improve its teaching and training to place more students on a course to be good citizens and fully engaged participants in our increasingly challenging and technically demanding economy? The statistics are cause for concern. Should Buffalo State make significant changes in its programs to be more effective? Are all of its degree offerings relevant to the student population it serves?
Institutions of higher education must, as Conway-Turner stated in her article, “deliver outstanding, relevant and responsive degrees.” Therefore, “maintenance of effort” is not a sufficient reason to increase financial support to Buffalo State considering its relatively low graduation rates.
Review of its programs with a goal to more effectively help and prepare students should be the top priority. The result may be a leaner, more effective and stronger institution as we advance into this new, ever-changing 21st century.
“Effort” alone will not suffice. Perhaps some departments require major changes? Effectively preparing young people for their careers and trades is the goal. Perhaps the institution must change to do so, not just increase funding. “Roar in 4” with the same academic programs and “maintenance of effort” are not enough re-engineering of the institution for more young people to succeed.