High school diploma required for 2012 community college enrollment

Beginning in the fall of 2012, you will need a high school diploma to get into a community college in Nevada.

The higher education system's Board of Regents adopted the new policy at the urging of the presidents of the state's four community colleges.

"It is not about limiting access," said Maria Sheehan, president of Truckee Meadows Community College. "It is not about being punitive. … It is not about denying access to career changers."

Instead, she said, the policy is a way to make sure students are more likely to succeed once they are in college. Currently, there are nearly no admission standards to get into a community college here. While the colleges are bursting at the seams, they essentially work on a first-come, first-served basis.

Michael Richards, president of the College of Southern Nevada, said students are more likely to succeed in college if they have completed high school.

He noted that the four colleges now have one year to design alternative routes to college for those who have not finished high school. The policy adopted Thursday requires the schools to do so.

The board also accepted a controversial task force report on revamping much about the state's community colleges.

The report includes 10 recommendations, among them to remake remedial education and to outsource online education to a private company.

"I'm not opposed to change," Regent Kevin Melcher said. "But I believe we need to really, really look at this before we jump into anything."

The board's vote to accept the report does not mean any of the recommendations will be implemented. Board Chairman Jason Geddes said the system's staff will look over the report and make recommendations in the coming year.

"All 10 of these recommendations are interesting," Western Nevada College President Carol Lucey said. "Some of them make me very uncomfortable."

But, she said, that is a good thing. Much about education needs to be reworked in Nevada.

Regent James Dean Leavitt agreed:

"I love it when we're uncomfortable."

Contact reporter Richard Lake at rlake@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0307.