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Volume 5, Issue 3

Tuition-Free College Among Hot Topics at Upcoming Conference

The prospect of “free” community college and how advancement practitioners should respond is among the hot topics to be discussed at the CASE Conference for Community College Advancement, Oct. 1-3, in Anaheim, California.

Mike Barzacchini, conference chair and director of marketing services at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, will host a featured session about tuition-free community college with a handful of institutional leaders on the last day of the conference.

“There’s been a lot of movement for creating greater access to community college education that started before President Obama’s announcement,” he says. “Tulsa Community College in Oklahoma and Long Beach College in California are among the institutions that have good records with these type of promise or earned tuition programs. Ultimately, I think what the president’s announcement has done is brought more national attention to colleges that are looking at these types of programs in their own communities.”

Barzacchini notes that his own institution recently started the Harper College Promise Scholarship—a program which funds up to two years of college for students in the institution’s service district who meet certain academic and service requirements.

“These programs that promise free college have a significant impact on all advancement professionals,” he says. “At Harper, for example, we now have to campaign to fund a portion of these scholarships.”

The topics of the other featured sessions at the conference include how to create an annual fundraising plan, benchmarking an alumni relations program, and building a marketing plan and measuring its return on investment.

“This conference is really for can-do professionals,” Barzacchini says. “A lot of times, community college practitioners face limited budgets and short deadlines but do amazing work. I hope people take away examples of how people like them have achieved more than they thought they were able to imagine. We need to share those success stories to not only learn from our peers but also to fuel ourselves for future success at our own institutions.”

Barzacchini invites conference attendees to bring the challenges and big questions that they are facing for discussion at the event. In advance of the conference, he also invites attendees to share their own “can-do” success stories about what they’ve recently accomplished with the CASE community for community college advancement professionals.

This article is from the Sept 2015 issue of the Community College Advancement News.

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