The State University of New York system will create and test a "universal diagnostic to assess and track college readiness among 10th- and 11th-grade students in diverse communities across the state," the system said this week. The pilot program will feature extra remedial support for underprepared students to help ensure they are ready for college when they graduate from high school. All participating students will have access to a forthcoming free online course from SUNY on college readiness. SUNY said it will soon begin accepting proposals for the universal diagnostic, which it hopes to have up and running by fall 2016.
Bill Gates is among a group of rich college dropouts people often cite when questioning the value of a college degree. He isn't buying that argument.
“Although I dropped out of college and got lucky pursuing a career in software, getting a degree is a much surer path to success,” Gates wrote on Wednesday.
Gates published two blog entries encouraging more people to earn college credentials to help them get jobs. He cited data from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, which projects a shortage in the U.S. of 11 million skilled workers with college degrees over the next decade.
The blog entries included a video interview (below) with Cheryl Hyman, the chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago. Hyman, who dropped out of high school, has led an aggressive campaign to increase the urban community college system's low graduation rate, which stood at 7 percent when she arrived in 2010. It has since doubled to 14 percent.
“Cheryl and I discussed the need for colleges to create a less confusing course selection process. Students often waste time and valuable credit hours taking classes that don’t help them progress toward graduation because they don’t understand the degree requirements,” Gates wrote. “New personalized online guidance tools provide students with clear, semester-by-semester maps to graduation and a career.”
Gates also touted City Colleges' increased focus on careers, its addition of student supports and its efforts to redesign remedial math.
Only 23 percent of working-age black adults in California hold bachelor's degrees, according to a new report from the Campaign for College Opportunity, compared to 42 percent of their white counterparts. And one-third of black adults in the state attended college but earned no degree. The report also found that black undergraduates are underrepresented at four-year public and private nonprofit universities in the state. They are overrepresented at California community colleges and for-profit institutions, however.
Rural high school students in Oregon were less likely to enroll and persist in college, according to a new study from REL Northwest, a regional research group that receives funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The study tracked students in Oregon who began high school between 2005 and 2007. It found that 55 percent of rural students enrolled in college, compared to 63 percent of nonrural students. Likewise, 78 percent of rural students persisted into their second year of college, compared to 83 percent of their nonrural peers. Those gaps were apparent even when the study controlled for students' performance on state assessments, and they occurred at all types of colleges.
Minnesota's state budget for the next year includes a pilot of the idea of free technical college education, The Star Tribune reported. While the plan started as a proposal for free community college, an idea that the Obama administration has promoted, it was scaled back to a pilot. The state will waive tuition and fees for about 1,600 students in high-demand technical college fields over the next two years. The scholarships will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis for those enrolling in eligible programs.
Portland Community College, in Oregon, on Monday announced that President Jeremy Brown was leaving. “This is a mutual parting of the ways,” said a statement from Deanna Palm, board chair. “The board and Dr. Brown realized they were each heading in different directions and have agreed to this separation in service.” The Oregonian noted that Brown will receive $300,000 as part of an agreement with the college. He started as president there two years ago.