Inside Higher Ed is pleased to release today The Debate on Free Tuition at Community Colleges, our latest compilation of articles. The compilation features articles on the Tennessee plan, other state plans and President Obama's plan, plus opinion pieces that critique and praise the idea. The booklet is free and you may download a copy here. You may also sign up here for a free webinar on Tuesday, March 17, at 3 p.m. Eastern about the themes of the booklet.
Submitted by Paul Fain on February 13, 2015 - 3:00am
Tennessee's governor, Bill Haslam, this week unveiled several higher education proposals as part of his budget plan. He included $1.5 million for a pilot program to offer a version of the state's free community college scholarship to adult students. Qualifying adults will be more than halfway to an associate degree in previously earned credits, said Mike Krause, the executive director of the Tennessee Promise program. Like traditional-aged students, they would get two years of free tuition at community colleges. Haslam, a Republican, called for another $1.5 million for adult students to receive similar scholarships to attend one of Tennessee's 27 colleges of technology.
Krause said the governor's budget plan would include $2.5 million to expand a successful remedial education program, which brings community college faculty members into public high schools. The program, which is dubbed Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support (SAILS), would reach 18,000 students this year. Krause said the state had seen a 4 percent decline in students with remedial needs in recent years.
Submitted by Paul Fain on February 11, 2015 - 3:00am
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation this week released results from a survey it commissioned of faculty attitudes, with a particular focus on courseware that can "personalize" learning. FTI Consulting conducted the survey, receiving roughly 4,000 responses.
Daniel Greenstein, the foundation's director of postsecondary success, summarized the findings in a written statement. He said the survey found that a significant number of faculty members are "open to using courseware and other innovations to improve their students' success." The report also described specific obstacles faculty face in "evolving their practice," he said, and detailed what colleges can do to reduce or eliminate those obstacles.
“It’s vital to better understand the views of faculty and what supports they say they need to continue to advance student outcomes,” Greenstein said of the survey.
Submitted by Paul Fain on February 10, 2015 - 3:00am
The Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN) announced Monday that it has added 15 new college members. The Lumina-funded group now features 30 institutions and 4 public college systems, all of which either offer competency-based degrees or are creating them. The C-BEN was created for participants to share information on the emerging form of higher education. New members include several community colleges, a midsized for-profit chain and large universities, including the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and the University of Texas System.
Submitted by Paul Fain on February 5, 2015 - 3:00am
Colleges spent $407 billion in 2013 on formal education programs, while employers spent $177 billion, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. The report found that employers also spent $413 billion on informal, on-the-job training. That means the workforce side of the total $1.1 trillion in expenditures on training outpaced that of higher education.
However, the rate of increase for spending on formal training has been faster in higher education -- an 82 percent increase since 1994 compared to a 26 percent increase by employers. Federally funded job training was the smallest piece of the pie, with $18 billion. College graduates receive the most formal training from employers, with 58 percent of the total expenditure by that sector compared to the 17 percent received by workers with a high school education or less.
A member of the City Council for Washington on Tuesday proposed that the University of the District of Columbia offer a free community college and be renamed to honor Marion Barry, The Washington Post reported. The university currently has both community college and four-year students. Vincent B. Orange, the councilman, said he wanted Washington to move to embrace President Obama's ideas about students having access to free community college options.
The late Barry served as mayor and city council member in Washington and is beloved in some circles and derided in others. Orange said that Barry's drug conviction should not disqualify him from having a university named in his honor. “It can serve as an inspiration for some, it can also serve as a way for others to get up and overcome their adversities -- and for some, it can serve as a don’t do these types of things, stay on this track," Orange said.
Submitted by Paul Fain on February 3, 2015 - 3:00am
Pennsylvania's 14 community colleges on Monday announced a project to help adult students earn more credit for their prior learning, such as for work training and experience. The College Credit FastTrack is a new Web site for adult students to start that process. The move by the state's community colleges follows a similar initiative the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which is the regional public university system, began in 2012.
Submitted by Paul Fain on February 3, 2015 - 3:00am
California's community colleges and the California State University System continue to make "notable progress" in creating smoother transfer pathways for students, according to a new report from the state's Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO). The two systems have been working to comply with 2010 legislation that requires the creation of associate degrees for transfer, which are designed to help clear away some of the "maze of academic requirements that vary across campuses," the report said. The LAO recommends setting specific reporting and data requirements to make sure the public institutions stay on track.