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May 13, 1988 - Image 42

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1988-05-13

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E D 1

In Service to
a Community
Spokane's two-year colleges prepare students for
careers-and for the baccalaureate if they want it


The second largest city
ton uses a motto that
also serves as a pronun-
ciation guide: "Yes you
can ... in Spokane. "Tucked in
the state's northeastern cor-
ner, this city of 175,000 last saw
boom times around the turn of
the century when silver flowed
from the mines in nearby
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. With its
rolling, fertile wheat fields to
the south, Spokane looks like
other conservative, industrial-
ized farm communities-save
for the majestic evergreens
that are synonymous with the
Pacific Northwest. An opulent
opera house and Riverpark
stand downtown, remnants of a
face-lift for the 1974 World
Expo. But Kaiser Aluminum
remains the only major indus-
trial employer. And, like other
areas whose vitality is tied to
agriculture and manufactur-
ing, Spokane's economy has
long been stagnant.
Understand the city and you From anth
see the importance of the life-
line to new jobs and careers provided by its
pair of two-year colleges-Spokane Falls
Community College (SFCC) and Spokane
Community College (SCC). They are located
on opposite sides of the city for the conven-
ience of their commuter students. Accessi-
bility and low cost-the colleges are open to
all high-school graduates-have been the
key factors to success and growth of the
system since its creation in 1967. Today
more than 20,000 students-ranging in
age from 18 to 80-choose each quarter
among 95 vocational and 39 academic-de-
gree programs, ranging from anthropolo-
gy and physics to practical applications of
culinary arts. "It's a way up in life," says
Jacqueline Hanke, a Spokane Falls coun-
selor. "Within the community-college sys-

By noon most students have finished their classes ai

T I ._

ropology to prosthetics: Student making an artificial limb, Schulte studying at home

tem, there is a place for most adults."
Indeed, 55 percent of those who partici-
pate in higher education in Washington,
as in much of the nation, enter through
community colleges (box). The majority
of students who attend most two-year
schools don't transfer to four-year colleges
after earning their associate degrees. Spo-
kane, however, has developed strong liber-
al-arts programs. As a result, half of the
Spokane Falls students and 20 percent
of those at SCC earn an Associate in
Arts (A.A.), then move on toward a bacca-
laureate degree.
A growing number of students enter the
Spokane colleges with a long-term academ-
ic plan. Steve Schulte, 19, for example, at-
tended Gonzaga Prep in Spokane, where he

took two years of Latin, calculus and col-
lege-preparatory English, heavy on litera-
ture and essays. Because his middle-in-
come parents didn't qualify for financial
aid, Schulte decided to spend his freshman
and sophomore years at SFCC for $759 an-
nual tuition and fees. After living on his
own for two years, he hopes to gain finan-
cial aid and transfer to Washington State.
"About 36 students from my high-school
class went to Gonzaga University [also in
Spokane], for which their parents are pay-
ing $14,000. They are out partying instead
of studying, and they are getting bad
grades," says Schulte. "I'm getting a 3.6
GPA and working 30 hours a week."
Others go to the community college right
after high school because, like Bob Breen,



MAY 1988

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