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Tom Snyder
Throughout his career, Thomas J. Snyder has focused his work on leading organizations, inspiring others to achieve their goals, and helping communities reach their economic potential. Today, as president of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Tom is recognized as a national expert on community colleges and leading advocate for college affordability. In The Community College Career Track, he shares his vision for ensuring that a college education remains within the reach of all American families—not just the fortunate few.

Entries by Tom Snyder

Lessons Learned As A Community College President

(1) Comments | Posted June 30, 2016 | 9:58 AM

I retired in June as President of Ivy Tech in Indiana, the nation's largest singly accredited community college system. Although I had an advanced degree from the Kelly School of Business when I joined Ivy Tech nine years ago as the new President, my "classroom" as an educator centered in...

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The Candidates and Higher Education

(1) Comments | Posted April 20, 2016 | 1:36 PM

As the presidential campaign heats up, it is time to look at where the candidates stand on higher education.

Perhaps the most important issues facing colleges and universities are affordability and student debt. The College Board estimates that tuition and fees for a two-year...

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A Blueprint for Free Community College

(0) Comments | Posted March 8, 2016 | 1:14 PM

Every governor and community college president in the country is paying close attention to Tennessee's successful free community college program. The hope is that if this can be accomplished in Tennessee, there is no reason why it can't happen nationwide.

Republican Governor Bill Haslam instituted Tennessee Promise in February 2014,...

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Retirees Thrive at Community Colleges

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2016 | 1:25 PM


In addition to seeking a warmer climate, lower taxes and housing costs, many retirees are relocating to college towns that provide intellectual simulation for their golden years.

Many community colleges court these senior with free or low-cost tuition. According to the American...

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Apprenticeship Programs at Community Colleges

(1) Comments | Posted January 6, 2016 | 12:55 PM


Apprenticeships, where young people learned skills on the job from a master craftsman such as a stone cutter, have been around since the Middle Ages. An apprentice would earn while he learned and often lived with the journeyman providing the...

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Remedial Education at Community Colleges

(0) Comments | Posted December 22, 2015 | 2:10 PM

According to the report, "Remediation: Higher Education's Bridge to Nowhere," fifty-one percent of all applicants to community colleges are required to take remedial courses so they are prepared for college-level work.

Non-traditional students who are older and may be out of school for more than 20 years...

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Dual-Enrollment Programs Threatened

(1) Comments | Posted October 29, 2015 | 12:01 PM

One of the most successful initiatives in higher education is dual enrollment in which high school students can take college-level courses.

The positives of this program are numerous. Students gain confidence that they can do college-level work. They also save a significant amount of money on their education because...

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Tennessee Promise

(0) Comments | Posted October 22, 2015 | 11:10 AM

Tennessee Promise, the state's free community college initiative, appears to be off to a great start.

Statewide, community college enrollment is up 14 percent. Students had to fill out the financial application for student aid, meet with a volunteer mentor and sign up for...

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Investing in the American Workforce

(0) Comments | Posted September 28, 2015 | 2:05 PM

A recent poll conducted by the Gallup-Lumina Foundation found that while Americans may be politically polarized, they all agree that the United States needs to invest in the talent of its workforce. Talent is defined as "the knowledge or skills people develop or obtain through education, work or...

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Contributions of Community Colleges to Cities and Towns

(0) Comments | Posted September 18, 2015 | 12:49 PM

In many small cities and towns, community colleges are more than educational institutions. They function as civic centers, host wedding receptions and offer free cultural events.

Local businesses rely heavily on community colleges for workforce development. Cape Cod Community College contacted a group of regional startup companies and...

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Indiana Supports College Promise

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2015 | 5:00 PM

In June I led a delegation of Indiana educators, business leaders, and philanthropists to Washington, D.C. to learn about College Promise, the Obama administration's non-partisan grassroots effort to build widespread support for a free community college education for responsible students throughout the nation.

I believe free community college will be...

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Support Community College Students

(0) Comments | Posted August 26, 2015 | 2:35 PM

Remember college? Four years dedicated to learning. Long nights discussing how to change the world with people who would become your lifelong friends. Sleeping late because your classes started at 10:00 a.m. Professors who encouraged you and advised you on your future. Interesting work/study projects that challenged you.

Now imagine...

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Community Colleges and Health Care

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2015 | 5:13 PM

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the healthcare sector will add the most new jobs between 2012 and 2022. Even before the Affordable Care Act was passed, the healthcare sector represented nearly 19 percent of all spending in the nation's economy and 13 percent of all jobs....

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Community Colleges and Tech Support

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2015 | 11:59 AM

Whether it is a Mom-and-Pop business or a multi-national company, they both share a common need -- reliable tech support. But we are facing a crisis in this country because there are more jobs available in technology than there are highly skilled people to fill them. If America is to...

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The Case for Career and Technical Education

(3) Comments | Posted March 27, 2015 | 2:54 PM

Robert Reich, the distinguished author and Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration, recently published an excellent piece on why a four-year college education isn't for everyone.

As the president of Ivy Tech in Indiana, the nation's largest singly accredited community college system, I couldn't agree more.


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Community Colleges and the Skills Gap

(1) Comments | Posted February 24, 2015 | 11:54 AM

With a four year, residential college costing more than $80,000, parents and students are looking more closely at the return on investment.

President Obama recently spoke at Ivy Tech in Indiana, the nation's largest singly accredited community college system in the country, about his proposal...

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Free Community College Is a Game Changer

(37) Comments | Posted January 9, 2015 | 3:49 PM

President Obama's proposal to make community colleges free of charge is a bold initiative and a game changer for our country when it comes to educational attainment.

Just as FDR did in 1944 with the GI Bill and Lyndon Johnson's support of Pell Grants in 1965, a free community...

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Drawbacks of "15 to Finish"

(0) Comments | Posted September 5, 2014 | 11:52 AM

A recent study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, funded by The Lumina Foundation, reveals that over the past two decades, more than 31 million students have enrolled in college without obtaining a degree or certificate.

In our discussions about increasing college attainment in the United...

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The Negative Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Community Colleges

(1) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 9:00 AM

While I believe fervently that all Americans should have access to affordable health care, as president of Ivy Tech Community College I have severe reservations with the Affordable Care Act's definition of full time employment.

The law stipulates that employers must provide health care to anyone working 30 hours...

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Community Colleges Support Entrepreneurs

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2014 | 2:22 PM

Small businesses account for 64% of the net new jobs created between 1993 and 2011 or 11.8 million of the 18.5 million net new jobs, according the Small Business Administration. Yet the SBA also points out that after five years many of these businesses fail. Entrepreneurs are vitally important to...

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