A report from the Center for an Urban Future shows that within three years, just 26% of community college students in the Finger Lakes graduate. This number is only slightly higher than the rest of the state, graduating at 25%.
Senior fellow for economic opportunity at the Center, Tom Hilliard, says these numbers are not good enough, but believes change can be made.
"Studies have found that even though it is certainly true that many students are entering community colleges under prepared, it is also true that too many students are placed into remediation, students that could have succeeded in credit bearing 101 classes."
He said getting students into these credited classes faster would help jump start the journey to graduation.
The City University of New York schools (CUNY) increased their community college graduation rates from 13% to 22% in nine years. They have a program called ASAP which pays for some student’s transportation and books, and gives them more access to an advisor.
Hilliard says college doesn’t need to be easier, students just need more support from their schools, as well as the state.
"Students who are low income, students who don’t have a lot of financial resources who maybe are not coming fully prepared for college. And who don’t have a lot of people in their families who have gone to college before who can coach them through the complexities of college. These are students who are more likely to drop out."
Hilliard said having a strong supply of job applicants is critical for economic competitiveness in both the Finger Lakes and the state in general.
Broken down, graduation rates in the three year period are at 29% at Genesee Community College, 28% and Finger Lakes Community College, and 24% at Monroe Community College.