Students at Wallace Community College Selma sign a certificate of commitment Thursday pledging to complete their collegiate degrees. -- Sarah Cook

Wallace students commit to complete degrees

Published 11:03pm Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hundreds of Wallace Community College Students gathered outside the school Wednesday and signed their name on the dotted line, pledging to complete their associate degree or certificate before leaving Wallace.

Pledges made were part of Commit to Complete Day, a day designated to recognizing the importance of earning a college or associate degree.

“This is part of a national initiative to increase the number of students not only attending college, but also completing a certificate or degree,” said Dr. James Mitchell, president of Wallace.

Two years ago, President Barack Obama called for community colleges to produce an additional 5 million degrees and certificates in the next 10 years as part of a goal to restore the United States as the world’s leader in college graduates.

Kerry Henderson, Phi Theta Kappa faculty advisor, said Commit to Complete Day is just another way to boost support for this initiative.

“We want students to really understand the importance of completing their degree,” Henderson said. “We also want to let them know that as a faculty, we’re here to help them along that journey.”

According to Community College Completion Corps, students who complete their degree will earn an average of $8,000 more a year compared to those who don’t. Also, they will earn $40,000 more in a lifetime.

Henderson said there are many more incentives to completing a two-year or four-year degree.

“We have an agreement with four-year colleges where if they complete their degree then all their hours will transfer,” she said. “But if they decide not to complete and then transfer, four-year colleges can kind of pick and choose whether or not they want to accept that.”

Octavia Mason, one of the many students who signed the completion pledge, said there are several reasons why she decided to pursue higher education.

“I want to get a job and be able to support myself,” Mason, who is a sophomore studying office administration, said. “Without a degree, you can’t get a high-paying job.”

Mitchell said he was pleased with how many students decided to sign the pledge.

“I’m excited about this,” he said. “I think it’s visible that everyone is taking the time to commit to this. We have some outstanding students here.”

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