Community college students face long odds of eventually earning a bachelor’s degree. And those odds get worse if they leave college more than once along the way, reports Inside Higher Ed
“That is the central finding of a new study that tracked the progress of 38,000 community college students in Texas. Toby J. Park, an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy at Florida State University, conducted the research. His working paper was presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education in St. Louis.
“The group of students he studied first enrolled in 2000. Among them, fully 94 percent “stopped out” of college at least once, by experiencing a “period of non-enrollment.”
“Most of the students returned to their studies, according to the paper, which is titled “Stop-Out and Time for Work: An Analysis of Degree Trajectories for Community College Students.” More than 20,000, or 72 percent, of the cohort came back to some Texas college in the sample, which used data from the Texas Education Agency, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the state’s comptroller.
“Even students who eventually earned a bachelor’s degree were likely to spend time away from college. Only 13 percent of the 6,200 four-year degree-holders in the sample did not stop out.
“However, the study found that 76 percent of those degree completers took only one break from college. After stopping out after a second time, the percentage of returning students completing a bachelor’s degree decreases substantially.
“If you leave twice,” Park said, “you’re not going to come back.” Continue reading “Community college students and later attrition”
A faculty-led group called the California Acceleration Project has helped 42 of the state’s community colleges offer redesigned, faster versions of remedial math and English tracks. But the group’s co-founders said they would be able to make much more progress if the University of California changed its transfer credit requirements.
As InsideHigher Ed reports: “Remedial courses are widely seen as one of the biggest stumbling blocks to improving college graduation rates, as few students who place into remediation ever earn a degree.
“The problem is particularly severe for black and Hispanic students, who account for almost half of the California community college system’s total enrollment of 2.4 million. More than 50 percent of black and Hispanic community college students place three or more levels below college mathematics, said Myra Snell, a math professor at Los Medanos College. And only 6 percent of those remedial students will complete a credit-bearing math course within three years of starting the first remedial course.
“A key reason for abysmal pass rates is the length of remedial sequences, argue Snell and Katie Hern, an English instructor at Chabot College, which, like Los Medanos, is a two-year institution located in California. “The lower down you start, the fewer students complete,” Hern said.
“The two instructors decided to do something about the problem. In 2010 they founded the California Acceleration Project. Armed with research from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advanced of Teaching and the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College, they encouraged their peers to offer shorter remedial sequences in math and English. Continue reading “Calif community colleges focussing on help courses”
Community colleges in a growing number of states are offering bachelor’s degrees. Now California and its huge two-year system may join that group, reports InsideHigher Ed
“A committee created by Brice Harris, the system’s chancellor, quietly began meeting last month to mull whether the state’s 112 community colleges should be granted the authority to offer four-year degrees. While the process has just started and has many hurdles to clear, it’s certain to be an attention-grabber in California and beyond.
“Not everybody is sold on the idea that community colleges should be in the bachelor’s-degree business, which more than 20 states now allow. Nearby public universities in particular tend to bristle at competition for students and dwindling state dollars.
“Some two-year college leaders and faculty members also worry about “mission creep” and whether striver colleges that seek to become four-year institutions might lose track of their core purpose of providing job training for local students, often from underserved populations. Michigan is the most notable state to take the leap of late, with a new law that allows community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in a limited number of technical fields. That battle is not over, however, as the state’s four-year institutions continue to fight the legislation. If California followed the lead of states like Michigan and Florida, it could add significant momentum to the trend. The state’s two-year system enrolls 2.4 million students, or one in four community college students nationwide. The move to offer four-year degrees at California community colleges would also pose a challenge to the traditional boundaries that the state’s Master Plan for Higher Education established.That influential framework, which was created in 1960, defined the roles of three tiers of public institutions – the community colleges, California State University and University of California Systems. Each sector has historically served different purposes to eliminate redundancy, with community colleges being the open-admission and transfer institutions.”
Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/09/27/two-year-colleges-california-mull-bachelors-degrees#ixzz2gAdp3TlV
Inside Higher Ed
Higher education is increasing divided by economic class.
It’s been almost 60 years since the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education led to the dismantling of segregated schools in the South, reports Huff Post College. “While legal segregation was halted, public schools especially in large cities have become increasingly segregated by circumstance. Now higher education is under scrutiny for having established a segregated system, this time primarily by socio-economic status.
“While undergraduate higher education in the U.S. can be parsed in a variety of ways, the biggest division is between the growing community college segment and that of four year public and private universities and colleges. Surprising to many, community colleges enroll 45% of all undergraduates and that fraction is growing. Moreover, the majority of all black and Latino undergraduates are enrolled at community colleges.
“Compared with students at senior institutions, community college students come from markedly poorer families. The details are documented in new research, Bridging the Higher Education Divide, by The Century Foundation. The report’s conclusion is clear: four year colleges, especially the elite privates, draw primarily from the top income brackets, while community college students come primarily from lower income groups. And since 1982 the gap is widening with fewer community college students coming from the top fourth of the income scale.
“Moreover, community colleges are neglected when it comes to federal and state funding. Thus expenditures by the federal government go primarily to private and public research institutions and state support per student is typically higher at state universities compared with community colleges. Continue reading “Separate yet unequal”