Response to WSJ’s Q&A with Community College President

Published on Sep 29, 2010

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Emsi Burning Glass

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Is there any organization that embodies “between a rock and a hard place” better than community colleges? In recent days more than a few articles have emphasized the plight of our nation’s colleges. One of those comes from The Wall Street Journal, which had an interesting Q&A with Gail Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College.

We wanted to take a moment to respond and indicate how EMSI can help your college in these challenging times.

Point One: Using Technology to Serve Students

When asked about the impact of the recession on the college President Mellow said,

We are looking in every way we can to cut costs through use of technology — sometimes even hoping to advance services at the same time. We are piloting an online, interactive career development process that is promising, and looking to build a similar online process for advising. After the initial investment, services should be much better in both areas.

Career development and advising services need current and comprehensive data about careers. EMSI has developed an online career exploration tool called Career Coach that shows students how your programs can prepare for real careers in your area.

Career Coach will also help you:

  • Connect students to careers through the college’s programs,

  • Cut costs by taking advantage of technology (e.g., “do more with less”),

  • Engage larger numbers of students with good career information, with the hope of getting them on a good career path,

  • Support first year experience programs, and

  • Reach out to the broader community to help folks find jobs and see how that all relates to training at the college.

Please take a minute to learn more here. If you would like pricing info or a demonstration, contact Rob Sentz.

To see a live version of Career Coach, visit:

Point Two: On Enrollment Trends

When asked about enrollment, President Mellow said:

Enrollment continues to climb precipitously. Actually, I should say student attempts to enroll continue to climb, because last fall, and again this fall, LaGCC closed admissions after August 1st. It was a ‘first come, first served’ admissions, but over 1000 students were turned away last year from LaGCC alone. Tuition has not gone up, but that is political. None of the city or state elected officials want us to raise tuition. They say it’s a tax. But on the other hand, we have a 4.5% decrease in public dollars against an 11%-plus increase in students. We’ve cut tutoring, career counseling, computer access in open labs, library hours. We refused to increase class size, because we think that impacts quality of instruction.

Increased enrollment coupled with massive budget cuts have put tremendous pressure on colleges. To optimize and improve services colleges first need to better understand the enrollment picture and how it might change in the coming years. EMSI can help by conducting quick, well-researched enrollment projections specific to your college.

Benefits of EMSI’s enrollment study:

  • A solid third-party evaluation,

  • A starting point for planning,

  • A break down of enrollment estimates (e.g., fall, spring, summer) so you can know when to expect more or fewer students coming through the doors.

Please take a minute to learn more by visiting our website. If you would like pricing info or a demonstration contact Rob Sentz.