Western Partners with CCsmart

Western and CCsmart logo

Western Wyoming Community College (Western) is partnering with CCsmart to tackle head-on the issue of declining enrollments at two-year colleges by introducing a new web resource for students and parents. An initiative of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), an honors society, PTK recognizes the academic achievement of college students and provides opportunities for its members to grow as scholars and leaders. CCsmart.org is an evidence-based and data-driven website designed to make it easier to find reliable information about higher education pathways.  

CCsmart was created in response to an idea championed by a group of PTK students who wanted to share the success and pride they had for being community college students and encourage others to take a deeper look at all the opportunities community colleges provide, particularly to first-generation college students and underserved populations. PTK’s 2022 International Student President, Tala Alahmar shared, “Community college instructors know your name and your circumstances... I thrived at a community college, and CCsmart is our way of telling people the stigma around community college is wrong. It is the exact opposite—people are smart to choose them, and here are the reasons why.”  

Community college remains the most affordable choice (avg: $3,800/year with $3,600/year at Western) in higher education and is 40% of the average tuition costs of four-year public institutions. These institutions offer many different avenues to employment and career development with workforce and transfer pathways designed to maximize quality education in flexible, affordable ways that work for students and families.  

Kim Dale, President of Western expressed, “Sometimes we forget the value we have in our own backyard. For the past 60 years Western has worked to provide our communities, and Wyoming as a whole, with numerous educational opportunities for anyone, at any stage of life. Building a better Wyoming means providing those pathways and that’s what community colleges do. I’m thrilled that this new tool is available for prospective students and that it will help them better understand the value of a community college education.”  

Central to CCsmart’s mission is a new website and information portal, CCsmart.org. CCsmart is designed to make it easier to find reliable information about higher education pathways, from workforce training to transfer options to bachelor’s degrees. This would include information on programs like Interstate Passport, that Western is a part of, and demonstrates the ease of transferring degrees and courses. It also provides easy-to-understand information about financial options for various credential and degree options and aid options beyond just Pell Grants and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). CCsmart aims to reduce the stress of starting the higher education experience at any age or stage of life.  

Right now, these colleges are underutilized, and we have to fix that,” said Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, CCsmart/Phi Theta Kappa’s  CEO and President. “CCsmart is about creating awareness of what these colleges have to offer, and it is also about fixing the short supply of skilled and trained workers needed for a strong U.S. economy.”  

To speak to someone about Phi Theta Kappa at Western contact Associate Professor of Biology, Katrina Marcos at, kmarcos@westernwyoming.edu or call, 307-382-1843. To learn more about PTK at Western visit our website at: https://www.westernwyoming.edu/ptk 

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