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January 5, 1967

Grand Rapids Junior College: Prospects and Alternatives

Summary of Findings
  1. Grand Rapids Junior College, founded in 1914, emphasizes college-transfer programs. Approximately 80 percent of its enrollment is in this program.
  2. While Grand Rapids is primarily a college-transfer institution, there is no accurate knowledge of exactly how many of its students move on to senior colleges or what happens to those who do not transfer. An accurate knowledge of what happens to these students is important in order to evaluate how well the college fulfills its role as a college-transfer institution.
  3. The performance in senior institutions of those Grand Rapids Junior College students who do go on to senior colleges compares favorably with the performance of students of other community colleges and with the native students.
  4. In the past, the vocational-technical programs and students have not received the close attention received by college-transfer programs and students. However, the college is undertaking to move forward in the vocational-technical area. New vocational-technical programs have been introduced and an office of Program Development and Placement has been established to develop new vocational-technical programs and to assist students in finding jobs.
  5. Responsibility for vocational-technical programs and adult education is divided in Grand Rapids. While the junior college has substantial responsibilities in these areas, the director of vocational education for the school board has responsibility for high school vocational programs, the apprentice programs, and the evening adult trade and industrial programs. Arts and crafts or leisure time adult programs are administered by the department of recreation. At a minimum, a clear cut definition of responsibilities is needed. The lodging of all such responsibilities in the junior college might be considered.
  6. Grand Rapids Junior College must come to terms with the proposed vocational program for out-county schools. Should the out-county school districts create an out-county community college to provide vocational-technical education, the junior college’s technical and academic programs might be adversely affected.
  7. While 60 percent of the junior college enrollment pays resident tuition, only 30 percent of the student body are graduates of the Grand Rapids public high schools. Another 20 percent are graduates of the parochial schools located in Grand Rapids. One-half of the enrollment comes from high schools outside of Grand Rapids.
  8. County population outside the city of Grand Rapids exceeds the population inside the city. In 1960, Grand Rapids had more college-age population than the rest of the county. However, by 1970 Grand Rapids will have less than half of the college-age students in the county.
  9. Based on present trends, junior college enrollments are projected to reach 6,300 in 1970 on a head count basis and 5,000 on a full-time equated basis. For 1975, the respective projections are 6,900 and 5,400.
  10. Present facilities, which provide 50 square feet per student, will be inadequate to meet this projected enrollment. Future facilities, planned for a full-time equated enrollment of 4,000 students, will provide an average of 135 square feet per student.
  11. The downtown location of the junior college appears to have a number of advantages: central location in relation to students served; easy access by public and private transportation; availability of part-time employment for students; availability of cultural, social, and governmental facilities, etc.
  12. The Grand Rapids Junior College per student operating costs for 1965-66 were fourth lowest of the 17 Michigan community colleges for which figures were available. The median expenditure of these institutions was $578 per student, while for Grand Rapids it was $553.
  13. The junior college derives its revenues from tuition (38%), state aid (49%), local support (8%), and miscellaneous (5%). The average for all 19 community colleges in the state was tuition–33%, state aid–21%, local support–38%, and miscellaneous–8%.
  14. Annual tuition charges of Grand Rapids Junior College of $210 for residents of the school district and $360 for non-residents were at the median of the 19 Michigan community colleges.
  15. Grand Rapids Junior College is one of seven operated and supported by an individual school district. The majority of Michigan community colleges are organized on a county or intermediate school basis with a separate board of trustees and independent taxing powers.
  16. While the arguments for the establishment of a single community college for Kent County are persuasive, it seems evident that such a shift at this time might be detrimental to the developments that appear to be underway to expand the college campus and programs.
  17. One possible consequence of the failure to establish a countywide community college could be the decision to create a second community college by the out-county school districts.
  18. A practical alternative might be for the Grand Rapids board of education to determine and make known its position on the desirability of establishing a countywide community college district. If it is the belief of the board that this is in the best interest of the junior college and the people of Grand Rapids and Kent County, then the board might set a timetable for the development of the college and a target date for its establishment as an independent community college.
January 5, 1967

Grand Rapids Junior College: Prospects and Alternatives

Summary of Findings
  1. Grand Rapids Junior College, founded in 1914, emphasizes college-transfer programs. Approximately 80 percent of its enrollment is in this program.
  2. While Grand Rapids is primarily a college-transfer institution, there is no accurate knowledge of exactly how many of its students move on to senior colleges or what happens to those who do not transfer. An accurate knowledge of what happens to these students is important in order to evaluate how well the college fulfills its role as a college-transfer institution.
  3. The performance in senior institutions of those Grand Rapids Junior College students who do go on to senior colleges compares favorably with the performance of students of other community colleges and with the native students.
  4. In the past, the vocational-technical programs and students have not received the close attention received by college-transfer programs and students. However, the college is undertaking to move forward in the vocational-technical area. New vocational-technical programs have been introduced and an office of Program Development and Placement has been established to develop new vocational-technical programs and to assist students in finding jobs.
  5. Responsibility for vocational-technical programs and adult education is divided in Grand Rapids. While the junior college has substantial responsibilities in these areas, the director of vocational education for the school board has responsibility for high school vocational programs, the apprentice programs, and the evening adult trade and industrial programs. Arts and crafts or leisure time adult programs are administered by the department of recreation. At a minimum, a clear cut definition of responsibilities is needed. The lodging of all such responsibilities in the junior college might be considered.
  6. Grand Rapids Junior College must come to terms with the proposed vocational program for out-county schools. Should the out-county school districts create an out-county community college to provide vocational-technical education, the junior college’s technical and academic programs might be adversely affected.
  7. While 60 percent of the junior college enrollment pays resident tuition, only 30 percent of the student body are graduates of the Grand Rapids public high schools. Another 20 percent are graduates of the parochial schools located in Grand Rapids. One-half of the enrollment comes from high schools outside of Grand Rapids.
  8. County population outside the city of Grand Rapids exceeds the population inside the city. In 1960, Grand Rapids had more college-age population than the rest of the county. However, by 1970 Grand Rapids will have less than half of the college-age students in the county.
  9. Based on present trends, junior college enrollments are projected to reach 6,300 in 1970 on a head count basis and 5,000 on a full-time equated basis. For 1975, the respective projections are 6,900 and 5,400.
  10. Present facilities, which provide 50 square feet per student, will be inadequate to meet this projected enrollment. Future facilities, planned for a full-time equated enrollment of 4,000 students, will provide an average of 135 square feet per student.
  11. The downtown location of the junior college appears to have a number of advantages: central location in relation to students served; easy access by public and private transportation; availability of part-time employment for students; availability of cultural, social, and governmental facilities, etc.
  12. The Grand Rapids Junior College per student operating costs for 1965-66 were fourth lowest of the 17 Michigan community colleges for which figures were available. The median expenditure of these institutions was $578 per student, while for Grand Rapids it was $553.
  13. The junior college derives its revenues from tuition (38%), state aid (49%), local support (8%), and miscellaneous (5%). The average for all 19 community colleges in the state was tuition–33%, state aid–21%, local support–38%, and miscellaneous–8%.
  14. Annual tuition charges of Grand Rapids Junior College of $210 for residents of the school district and $360 for non-residents were at the median of the 19 Michigan community colleges.
  15. Grand Rapids Junior College is one of seven operated and supported by an individual school district. The majority of Michigan community colleges are organized on a county or intermediate school basis with a separate board of trustees and independent taxing powers.
  16. While the arguments for the establishment of a single community college for Kent County are persuasive, it seems evident that such a shift at this time might be detrimental to the developments that appear to be underway to expand the college campus and programs.
  17. One possible consequence of the failure to establish a countywide community college could be the decision to create a second community college by the out-county school districts.
  18. A practical alternative might be for the Grand Rapids board of education to determine and make known its position on the desirability of establishing a countywide community college district. If it is the belief of the board that this is in the best interest of the junior college and the people of Grand Rapids and Kent County, then the board might set a timetable for the development of the college and a target date for its establishment as an independent community college.

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