Commentary: Clark State joins other community colleges in Year One at Home effort

Jo Alice Blondin, Ph.D., President of Clark State Community College
Jo Alice Blondin, Ph.D., President of Clark State Community College

Current and future students across the country are facing a tremendous amount of uncertainty due to the impact of COVID-19 on their educational plans. Whether these students are newly graduated from high school, recently laid off from their jobs, or looking to retrain to secure a better future for themselves and their families, community colleges like Clark State offer an affordable, flexible, high-quality, and transferrable education that provides for a level of stability and certainty during these unprecedented times.

For this reason, the Ohio Association of Community Colleges has launched a statewide campaign to enroll students for fall, called “Year One at Home,” which seeks to put an end to the question, “Will I be able to go away to a college or university next year and then be sent home due to COVID?” Community colleges have an answer to that question: stay home and go to your local community college this year, whether for face-to-face classes or online.

READ: Coronavirus: Clark State provides fall return dates, reopening plans

“Year One at Home” capitalizes on the expertise of community colleges to deliver excellence in instruction, whether online or in a traditional classroom, at a low tuition cost. With the strength of our transfer agreements with four-year universities and college, students and their families can rest assured that credits are easily transferrable, therefore keeping the cost of an education down and providing flexibility for working students and parents.

Clark State has a number of 3+1 and 2 2 transfer agreements with universities, meaning that students can take their first through third or first and second years at Clark State, transfer, and complete a bachelor’s degree at a university in one or two years. For example, Clark State has a 3 1 agreement with Ohio State University for Registered Nursing to Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a 3 1 agreement with the University of Cincinnati in Cybersecurity. Clark State has partnered with many universities to offer 3 1 and 2 2 pathways, such as Ohio State University, Ohio University, University of Cincinnati, Miami University, Franklin University, Western Governors University, Indiana Wesleyan University, Capital University, and Union Institute.

READ: Clark County coronavirus testing clinic sees increase of residents

Additionally, Clark State also offers every single student support service online, including tutoring, testing, mental health counseling, advising, and financial aid. Students can gain admission and register for classes at Clark State without setting foot on campus, though we opened our doors for in-person services on Monday, July 6. We are creating a safe environment through aggressive cleaning and sanitization, protocols for physical distancing, provision masks for students and visitors, staggering employee schedules to minimize the numbers in offices at one time, and reformatting classrooms and offices to create physical distance.

We are hoping that students choose “Year One at Home” at Clark State. As our Board of Trustee member and Chair of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, Jim Doyle, as stated, “Ohio’s community colleges are built for the ease, convenience and support of students. We know how to work around students’ needs and the biggest need they have right now is certainty, and that’s something we can supply. We are in 23 places across Ohio, nearby to every community, and we’re wired to serve. We’re glad to have a chance to support students and their families right now with Year One at Home and we anticipate it will be a welcome resource-and source of relief.”