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EGCC Tells Students To Go Elsewhere

Yesterday, Eastern Gateway Community College, in conjunction with the State of Ohio and Youngstown State University, announced that EGCC was unlikely to offer classes for the Summer and Fall semesters, due to the school’s ongoing financial problems. The Ohio Department of Education is working with YSU and other community colleges in Northeast Ohio to draft options for EGCC students who have been left in the lurch.

There’s a huge cost differential between Youngstown State University and EGCC. A single undergraduate credit at YSU is about $690. When you add fees, that figure rises to just over $1,000 per in-person credit. That is likely the reason that many local students in Steubenville and Youngstown attend EGCC instead of YSU.

Part of the advice these students are receiving is to transfer to YSU or another institution. In other words, enrolled students are being told to leave EGCC, rather than simply take classes elsewhere and transfer credits back later.

This is what happens when a community college turns its back on the community that funds it, and follows a plan that excludes the local community. EGCC has been in operation since 1968. The local community has plowed millions of dollars into EGCC over the last 55 years, and a few greedy, careless executives with the help of some feckless Trustees have run the institution aground.

The school is now virtually bankrupt because it has functionally lost the ability to distribute federal financial aid. Its earlier actions prompted the State of Ohio to practically eliminate most of its state appropriation. The school will likely lose its accreditation as a result. And recent law enforcement investigations hint at more trouble to come.

EGCC Trustees Have Utterly Failed Their Community

The Trustees have one job: to provide oversight over the school’s executives. They were supposed to safeguard the community’s investment in its community college. By failing to do this they have almost certainly guaranteed the school’s demise. There is a real possibility that EGCC will never open its doors again. If that happens, the community’s entire investment in higher education will have been lost.

And for what? Who benefited? More importantly, who’s going to make the community whole again?

When Trustees become complicit in the self-serving plans of executives who prioritize their own well-being over the institution’s, they place the institution at great risk. They also steal the futures of the most vulnerable members of the community.

The worst part is this: the executives of an institution are accountable to its Trustees, but the Trustees apparently aren’t accountable to anyone.

Photo Credit: Tom Natt, via Flickr