A recent social media campaign in Ohio is speaking out against the stigma many students face while attending community colleges across the country. Steve Robinson, president of Owens Community College outside Toledo, recently told a local ABC news outlet that “back when there was still smoking in public buildings they called community colleges high schools with ashtrays. There’s always some sort of snobby, pejorative name that a local community college has.”
He started a campaign, with a simple hashtag online, in an attempt to finally change this: #endCCstigma.
“From my perspective I think it’s important to be specific and call it out,” Robinson said in the article. “This is a tactic where we just say ‘Hey, we’re not going to pretend like there isn’t a misconception or a stigma, we’re going to name it and call it out because it’s not based in reality.”
Jenny Febbo, another Ohio-based community college president interviewed for the piece, pointed out that, in an era where 73% of people are putting off major life milestones like buying a hose or saving for retirement for student loans, the stigma surrounding community college is particularly ridiculous and needs to change.
“Right now we have the lowest college tuition in the state of Ohio and our estimates are that you can save approximately $13,000 off a cost of a college degree,” Jenny said, while also noting students can use community college credits to transfer to a four-year college. “We have those arrangements with many public and private universities within the state as well as across the country.”
“I think we’ve touched a nerve, there are a lot of us in the two-year college network who understand this is a real problem,” Robinson says further in the piece. “I think folks get that intellectually, and maybe don’t live that out in their conversations with their nieces, nephews, colleagues, friends when it’s time to have conversations about what people should…do for college.”
We at CLP want to get in on the action to help end stigma against community colleges! So this week, join us in posting to Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #endCCstigma and our social media handle @clpchangeagents, and tell us why community college was a good decision for you.