Oldest Community College Graduates of 2013

Looking for inspiration? Look no further than some of the stages of community college graduations this year. Amid the young adults parading across the stages to accept their hard-earned degrees, you might see a few faces you would not expect at a graduation event. Some of the oldest community college graduates of 2013 are also some of the most inspiring – if you are lucky enough to grab a few nuggets of their wisdom and their zest for life as you pass them on campus. Check out this amazing selection of the Class of 2013.
 
Beverly Ross
 
To earn her associate degree from Mott Community College this year, Beverly Ross had to overcome two hurdles. The first was a cancer diagnosis she received three years prior. The second was her age, which, at 54, was well beyond the average age of most Mott students. Ross managed to climb over both those obstacles, accepting her diploma in social work just this month.
 
According to mLive, Ross was diagnosed with cancer in her thigh muscle in in May, 2009. Two muscles had to be removed and replaced with bolts, brackets and screws. Ross also underwent intense chemotherapy treatment, which she was told could impact her ability to think. Ross decided to put that warning to the test, and enrolled at Mott Community College soon after.
 
“I’m so excited with proving [the doctor] wrong,” Ross told mLive. “I’m smarter. I’m proving to be smarter to me. After all that, I’m happy I accomplished this. . . . read more

While most students are getting to wind down for the summer months, community colleges are gearing up with a whole new set of learning opportunities for college students and community residents. From camps for kids to summer school for struggling college students, these campuses continue to bustle with activity all summer long. Check out how some community colleges across the country are planning to spend their summer “vacation” this year.
 
Summer School Comes Back to California Schools
 
It wasn’t that long ago that community colleges in California were forced to cut summer school options due to dismal bottom lines. The good news is that summer school is back in action for California students this year, according to The Business Journal. Thanks to additional funding from Prop. 30, schools across the state will be offering a handful of courses to students who want to continue their studies during the summer months.
 
College of the Sequoias will be offering around 40 classes this summer, including many basic courses students are required to take for degree completion programs. While the number may not be close to the dozens of courses available prior to the budget cuts, it will ease the strain on many students who have had difficulty getting into classes required for graduation. Because of the high demand for summer classes, wait list and priority registration have already been established.
 
West Hills Community College District will also add more summer class options this year, The Business Journal reports. Online classes will also . . . read more

Online learning is developing a more widespread presence at community colleges across the country. The ability to offer classes via the Internet allows for a greater number of students to take the courses on their own time. Flexibility is the big buzzword, with online options providing students the ability to work higher education around work and family responsibilities. However, these new online offerings have their drawbacks as well as their benefits, which have prevented students from embracing them as a full-time college choice.
 
Study Shows Online Learning Works in Some Situations
 
A recent study from the Community College Research Center and Columbia University’s Teachers College found that students prefer online classes in some situations, but not all the time. According to Inside Higher Ed, students preferred face-to-face contact with instructors if the classes were especially challenging or the subject matter was complex or important. Students told researchers they did not feel they learned the material in a class as thoroughly when the class was taught online.
 
For the study, researchers talked to 46 students at two different community colleges in Virginia. Students surveyed had taken both online and face-to-face classes on their college campus. While the number of students included in the study was relatively small, researchers believe they demonstrated a valid representation of community college students across the country.
 
U.S. News reported that the students interviewed in this study told researchers they would be willing to take online classes for certain subjects. However, most preferred the face-to-face classroom experience, . . . read more

Community college completion rates have been a concern since President Obama made these two-year schools a focus in efforts to increase the number of college graduates in the U.S. The truth is that most community colleges currently see relatively low completion rates, due to a myriad of factors working against students attending these schools. The good news is there are many ideas on the table for improving community college completion rates nationwide. Check out these 10 ideas for increasing community college retention that are slowly being put into practice by community colleges across the country.
 
Adding Dual-Enrollment Programs
Dual-enrollment programs allow high school students to earn college credits before they earn their high school diploma. In some cases, the college courses are offered free of charge, depending on whether the state is willing to pick up the tab through special student funding. Other schools charge a nominal tuition fee, which is much lower than what high school graduates can expect to pay. Students that earn college credits during high school are much more likely to see their degree program through to completion.   
 
Collecting Data
The American Council on Education encourages community colleges to join the initiative, “Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count.” The initiative uses measurable data to promote higher student success, particularly among low-income and minority students. Around 130 community colleges nationwide have signed onto the initiative thus far. Some of the schools involved are already showing impressive improvement in student outcomes.
 
Increasing Accountability

New Community College in New York has just found itself $15 million richer, thanks to a generous donation from the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation. As one of the largest donations in community college history, the school felt a name change was in order as well. Now, New York’s newest community college will be known as the Stella and Charles Guttman Community College. In addition to the new name, the school is preparing to launch initiatives to improve graduation rates and expand their financial aid opportunities, courtesy of the foundation that is now the school’s namesake as well.
 
The Birth of a School
 
The New York Times reported in July, 2012, that New Community College was about to open its doors to its inaugural class of incoming high school graduates. The school was a new endeavor by City University of New York to bring an innovative two-year school to the Big Apple. New Community College wasted no time reaching out to the surrounding community of potential students; many of whom found the idea of higher education overwhelming and even out of reach.
 
The primary goal of New Community College was to provide relief for what ails community colleges today. CUNY designed the school structure from scratch, including a full curriculum that school officials hope will improve graduation rates and increase transfers to four-year schools. New York Community College Chancellor Matthew Goldstein stated on the CUNY website, “There is no more urgent task in higher education than to find ways . . . read more
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