Perhaps not surprisingly, Pima Community College maintains its position between a rock and a hard place. With a constricting budget and distractions brought on through various audits, the college has found little time to focus on students.
That has to change. Students are the ones who have the most to lose.
In this issue, we cover a major problem faced by many of Pima’s student veterans. They have not received funding from their GI Bill, which must be authorized through the college based on their degree program.
This delay has affected the lives of student veterans who rely on their GI Bill to sustain a living, not dissimilar to students who rely on scholarships to pay rent, insurance or buy food.
Among other issues, this suggests a disconnect between administrators and students, resulting in a misunderstanding of needs.
Not only does this disconnect affect students in their learning experience, it lowers morale. Education should provide students with a sense of pride and a feeling of worth.
To have the administrators of PCC seemingly down-playing the requirements of student success leds to an impression of ambivalence and under appreciation .
To solve this problem, the college must place students as a higher priority and understand exactly what their average student needs.
But, prioritizing within an organization as large as PCC can be difficult. With a large student body, multiple campuses and a large population of veterans there are many places where error could occur.
“We can’t afford to fail an audit, because then we won’t have any veterans to worry about certifying,” Daniel Kester, Pima’s executive director of veterans services, said in regards to the most recent issues plaguing student veterans.
College administrators must think carefully about the choices they make and how those choices affect the students.
Fortunately, in the wake of the probation under the Higher Learning Commission, Pima has experienced substantial turnover in the upper echelons of administration.
“The people that caused these problems are long gone,” Kester said.
In addition to a streamlined system for certifying student veterans, the college is well on its way in the right direction to correcting this problem.
This won’t be the last time the college comes under scrutiny for its actions.
Somewhere in between keeping Pima open and oblivion lies a middle ground, which can be both attractive to potential students and financially viable.
This editorial was written on behalf of the Aztec Press editorial board by co-editors in chief Nick Meyers and Jamie Verwys.