LIBERAL, Kan. — Graduates of Seward County Community College earn higher wages on average than their peers at other community colleges in Kansas. The most recent K-TIP (Kansas Training Information Program mandated by state law) publication shows Seward ranks first in terms of students’ financial prospects.
In 2019 (the most recent year calculated), the median wage earned by graduates of SCCC stood at $37,728. That’s $7,000 above the state total, drawn from data provided by 19 community and technical colleges, and $10,000 higher than the average median income in Seward County, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.
SCCC President Brad Bennett relishes healthy cross-college competition but said the most valuable aspect of the data is its impact on students’ lives.
“The numbers show our graduates had the highest average income in all 19 community colleges — they’re earning a high wage when they get out,” he said. “I am very, very proud of that, and proud of our students for these achievements. It changes the trajectory of their lives.”
Dean of Student Success Annette Hackbarth-Onson said she sees the “ripple effect” of an SCCC education daily, as she advises and counsels many students who are first in their family to attend college.
“So many of our students are navigating circumstances that require tremendous courage and resilience,” she said. “They might be single parents, or folks who are determined to help and empower their families. They are working full time and taking classes here with that goal in mind. They want to make their lives better.” Hackbarth-Onson added that it can be difficult to balance long- and short-term priorities. “Students who can concentrate on school without working should do so though as they finish faster and probably gain more,” she said.
The K-TIP report is prepared each year in response to K.S.A. 74-32,418 which established the importance of institutional accountability. Information included in the report includes number of career technical program majors enrolled and program concentrators, program graduates, students pursuing additional education/training, graduates exiting postsecondary and becoming employed, as well as the number of graduates employed and reported average and median wages.
SCCC’s numbers reflect the college’s mission, which is “to provide opportunities to enrich and improve each person’s life through a range of academic programs, including technical education, certificate and degree programs, and transferable degree programs, for the advancement of the individual and the community.”