Rick Bateman: Flexible. Transferable. Affordable…The BPCC Way!

Flexible.  Transferable.  Affordable.

These three words have been used to describe the BPCC experience.  Over the last year, I’ve written about BPCC’s ability to be flexible.  Covid-19 taught us that our flexibility to move to the online environment and maintain quality programming has never been more important for our students.  This month, I want to address the important concepts of transferability and affordability.

April is time to examine our fiscal health as we all prepare our taxes and look at more ways to save money while pursuing our individual goals and dreams.  BPCC can be a valuable partner in that journey.

A recent Forbes article observed, “Community colleges offer an affordable start in higher education for many students, and they provide valuable retraining for adults looking to change or advance their careers.  For many students they are the first and last best chance to earn a degree or credential.  Their success is crucial not only for personal opportunities but also for the nation’s economic prosperity.”

Affordability is an important part of the open access mission at BPCC.  I am proud that BPCC and other community colleges in our state have not raised tuition in the last five years.  BPCC has absorbed state budget cuts and by becoming more efficient and cutting costs—and we did not pass those cuts onto students.  Currently, BPCC is about half the cost of a regional or state four-year university.  For a student who receives TOPS or other financial aid, that aid goes further and lasts longer at BPCC.  These savings translate to lower student debt and help students get started in life with fewer financial burdens.

The Forbes article referred to community colleges as an “affordable start.”  Why a start? Because BPCC has designed programs to be transferrable.  Students can start at BPCC for less, make their financial aid and scholarships go farther, and still transfer all of the credits to a four-year university where they can complete a Bachelor’s Degree in two years, not four.  This pathway has helped many BPCC students achieve their academic goals while keeping an eye on their fiscal health and lowering future debt obligations.

At BPCC, we understand that higher education has developed a bad reputation when it comes to affordability and outrageous student debt.  Addressing this cost issue head on is another aspect that sets us apart.  Our mission is to give everyone access to higher education credentials and degrees.  Part of that access mission includes looking out for our students’ fiscal education and health as well.  We take this responsibility seriously and we know that quality education and training can be affordable and can change the trajectory of a life.

Maintaining focus on our purpose through tough times has allowed BPCC to stay committed to the community and our students.  As we continue to expand our reach and impact in North Louisiana, we do so with the confidence and commitment that our business and efficiency practices are ultimately providing the most affordable and transferable education opportunities for our students.

Dr. Rick Bateman | BPCC CHANCELLOR