communitycolleges

Gainful Employment Failures Cluster in 10 States

An analysis from Third Way finds a high concentration of graduates who attended programs that failed the gainful-employment rule in just a handful of states.

The Obama administration crafted the gainful-employment rule to hold career education programs accountable based on graduates' ability to pay off their student loan debt. Nearly one in 10 of the programs assessed under the rule failed to meet passing criteria, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Education in January.

Third Way found that three-quarters of graduates who attended failing programs were concentrated in 10 states. And six states -- Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska and Oregon -- had a significantly higher proportion of graduates attending failing programs than the national average, the group found. Third Way argues the large variation in outcome by states is evidence that strong national standards are needed for higher education programs.

After announcing in June that she would pursue a regulatory overhaul of the gainful-employment rule, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has taken multiple steps to weaken or delay existing gainful-employment regulations.

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Troubled Baltimore City Community College considers free tuition

Baltimore’s struggling two-year college considers a tuition-free program while undergoing a state-mandated reorganization. But some experts question what level of quality they’re offering students for free.

Graduation Rates for Dual-Enrolled Students

A new study from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University's Teachers College and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center takes a state-by-state look at how students who take community college courses while still in high school fare after they transition to college.

The report finds that not only has the number of high school students taking these courses increased dramatically in the last decade, but these students are more likely to graduate high school, attend college and earn degrees than their peers. The study found that 88 percent of dual-enrollment students (who took community college courses in high school) continued in college after high school, and most achieved a degree or transferred within six years.

Nearly half of former dual-enrollment students first attended a community college immediately after high school, with 84 percent of those students re-enrolling at the college where they had taken the dual enrollment course.

"Any time I go to community colleges, they always assume that most of their dual-enrollment students are going directly to the four-year [institutions] after high school," said Davis Jenkins, a senior research scholar at CCRC and a co-author of the report. "But in fact, nationally, the majority are going on to the community colleges. This is a wake-up call to the community colleges … You have to recruit these students, and they should recruit them for bachelor's degrees with partnering institutions."

Community colleges have an opportunity to advertise themselves as low cost, high quality and close to home, he said, and places for formerly dual-enrolled students to earn an associate degree on their path to a four-year degree.

The report examined more than 200,000 high school students who took a community college class in 2010 and tracked them through 2016. It found a degree completion gap for lower-income students. In 13 states, the report found gaps of 10 percentage points or more in the completion rates between lower- and higher-income students who enrolled in a community college after high school.

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Promising Data on Tenn.'s Free Community College Program

Tennessee students who participate in the state's free community college scholarship program, dubbed the Tennessee Promise, are more likely to succeed in college than their peers are, The Tennessean reported.

More than half of the first batch of recipients (56 percent), who enrolled in 2015, had graduated, transferred to a four-year institution or remained enrolled, according to new data from the Tennessee Board of Regents and the state's two-year college system. Just 39 percent of recent high school graduates outside of the program had done the same.

Roughly 44 percent of 2015 Promise recipients had dropped out without a degree by this year, which isn't a particularly high drop-out rate for community college students. In comparison, 61 percent of non-Promise community college students who were recent high school graduates left college without a degree in the same time frame.

"I think the results show that these students are succeeding at a decidedly better rate," said Bill Haslam, the state's Republican governor and a driving force behind the Promise scholarship's creation.

The analysis found some troubling data points. For example, students from minority groups were less likely than white students to participate in the program. "The data's pretty clear that we have gaps and equity issues," Russ Deaton, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and student success at the Board of Regents, told the newspaper.

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Embattled Nashville CC President Retires

George Van Allen, the president of Nashville State Community College, announced in an email to faculty Tuesday that he plans to retire in December, according to The Tennessean.

The announcement comes after Van Allen and his administration were accused of using "hostility, intimidation and retaliation" to keep faculty in line, according to an internal report that was requested by the Tennessee Board of Regents. The report was released to the public in May, and Van Allen defended his record, claiming the negative views came from a small group of professors who were unhappy about policy changes.

Van Allen will continue to receive his $15,125 per month salary through the end of the year. Meanwhile, the Board of Regents will begin searching for his successor.

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Inside Digital Learning: Should Online Courses Be Standardized?

In today's "Inside Digital Learning":

  • Blackboard's LMS market share has stablized, but observers wonder about the future of the company.
  • Experts weigh in on whether online courses should be standardized. (No surprise: faculty members say no.)
  • Hybrid courses offer a quick fix in disaster scenarios, but overall challenges remain.
  • Study finds that instructional designers want to do more research, but colleges don't value their inquiry.
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Inside Digital Learning: Should Online Courses be Standardized?
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Inside Digital Learning: Sept. 20, 2017 newsletter

Calif. 2-Year System Renames Fee Waiver as Promise Program

The California Community Colleges announced Tuesday that the Board of Governors Fee Waiver program, which nearly half of the system's 2.1 million students with free tuition, would be renamed the California College Promise Grant

"California has long been a leader in college opportunity," said Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the system's chancellor, in a news release. "By rebranding our fee waiver program as the Colleg Promise, we are aligning our historical commitment to affordability with the successful Promise partnership model to send the message that college is within reach to young Californians who otherwise may not see higher education as an option." 

The need-based fee waiver program is first-dollar, which means it covers tuition first before any other financial aid awarded to the student. That allows students to use other financial aid to offset the cost of textbooks, transportation and other expenses. 

 

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Community college's job market study highlights need for middle skills despite low unemployment

St. Louis Community College’s annual employer study finds openings for middle-skilled employees but also concerns about applicants’ skills and training.

Calif. Community Colleges Partner With WGU

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors today approved a new partnership with nonprofit Western Governors University that allows graduates from the 114 two-year institutions in the state to transfer and pursue discounted bachelor's degrees at the online institution.

"WGU's distance-learning format, competency-based learning model and discounted tuition will enable students graduating from a California community college the flexibility to earn a bachelor's degree without leaving home at an affordable price," said Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the community college system, in a news release.

Under the partnership, students transferring from the community colleges would be offered a 5 percent tuition discount for up to four academic terms. WGU students are charged a flat rate per six-month term, with tuition and fees totaling about $6,000 a year. In addition to the discount, the transfer students are also eligible for the $2,000 Community College Partnership Scholarship.

WGU's partnership with the California Community College system "will make it possible for more busy adults in California to complete their degrees affordably and without disrupting their lives," said Scott Pulsipher, WGU's president, in a news release.

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Accreditor denies Arizona community college's bid to expand online

Accreditor’s rejection of Scottsdale Community College’s proposed expansion suggests that consistency and mandated faculty training could become a focus for quality control in online learning.

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