Study explores preparation and outcomes of 2- and 4-year college students

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Study finds significant variation in academic preparation of traditional-age students at different community colleges, and seeks to explain graduation rate gap between 2- and 4-year colleges.

Mass Shooting at Oregon Community College

Multiple people were killed or injured this afternoon by a shooter at Umpqua Community College, which is located in Roseburg, Ore.

NBC News reported at least 13 people may have been killed and at least 20 others injured. Local authorities are busing students and faculty members to the county fairgrounds.

Oregon is one of seven states where people can legally bring guns on campus as long as they have a concealed weapons permit. The college, which is one of 17 two-year institutions in the state, has about 3,000 full-time students.

According to a college policy, “possession, use or threatened use of firearms (including but not limited to BB guns, air guns, water pistols and paint guns) ammunition, explosives, dangerous chemicals, or any other objects as weapons on campus property, except as expressly authorized by law or college regulations, is prohibited.”

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Students opt to combine multiple 2-year degrees

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At a two-year college in Florida, students have found that sometimes it's in their best interest to pursue two associate degrees rather than transfer or pursue the traditional four-year degree.

N.Y. Governor Eyes Free Community College Plan

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is in talks with the White House to provide free tuition at community colleges within the state, according to a report from the New York Post. In those talks, the governor has offered up to $500 million to make the state's community colleges tuition-free. The City University of New York system has seven community colleges and the State University of New York has 30 two-year institutions. The Obama administration has been encouraging states, cities and colleges to take the lead on pushing for free community college as a way of encouraging enthusiasm for the America's College Promise initiative. Other states and cities have been looking at similar plans.

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Nonacademic skills test from ETS fills in blanks on student's likelihood of success

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Colleges are using a nonacademic skills test from ETS to try to boost graduation rates and in remedial course placement. One university gives the test to all its athletes.

Report Questions Free Community College

A new report from the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research -- a conservative think tank -- argues that community colleges aren't ready for the consequences of providing "free" tuition until they provide intensive counseling and "emulate" the for-profit college sector with relevant course work and internships. The consequences of free community college, the report said, would be a larger number of students looking to enroll in two-year colleges with low performance rates. As a way to encourage community colleges to make these changes, the report encourages federal funding to be awarded conditionally. Under the proposal, qualifying colleges would need to have proven records of "above-average" graduation rates and "below-average" student loan default rates.

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Successful Long Beach Promise Program extends offer of free tuition from one semester to a year

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An influential free community college program that helped shaped President Obama's two-year America's College Promise initiative is expanding from one semester to two.

Collegiate air traffic controller programs struggle to stay relevant after FAA hiring changes

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Colleges with air traffic control programs lose students as result of changes in hiring preferences. Is federal agency ignoring need for higher education for those in a role that is essential to safety?

Illinois Law Will Limit Payments to Ex-Presidents of Community Colleges

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican, on Tuesday signed into law legislation to limit severance packages for community college presidents to no more than one year of salary and benefits, The Chicago Tribune reported. The law also limits contracts to four years and requires public notes and public votes to approve changes. The law was prompted by widespread anger over payments that the College of DuPage, a community college outside Chicago, agreed to make to President Robert Breuder -- totaling $763,000 -- to retire in March 2016, three years early. While the DuPage board, with new members, is trying to undo that contract provision, many are calling for broader reforms.

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DuPage Board Voids President's Contract

The board of the College of DuPage voted 4 to 3 Thursday night to void the contract of President Robert Breuder, The Chicago Tribune reported. Breuder is currently on leave from his position, and the vote could clear the way for the board to dismiss him and also to ignore a deal it made to pay Breuder $763,000 to retire in March 2016, ahead of the end of his contract. Breuder and the contract have received considerable criticism for his spending decisions, and for previous board members' support for him. The board members who backed the action Thursday said that they were acting because previous board members inappropriately pledged that they would support the president in certain ways, such as through his contract provisions. But other board members said that the previous contract -- however much they might disagree with it -- couldn't simply be voided, and that the college now faced the risk of being sued.

The board also voted Thursday night to remove Breuder's name from a college building.

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