California Community Colleges Boost Summer Programs, Thanks to More Funding

For a number of years, students at California community colleges have been unable to take advantage of the summer months to get ahead in their studies by taking a few extra classes. Budget cuts in recent years have forced many schools in the state to cut their summer offerings to a bare minimum, while a few have had to cut summer classes completely. Now, thanks to the passage of Prop 30, community colleges in the state are finding the money to beef up their summer course schedules, much to delight of students who were hoping to spend their summer months deep in their studies.
 
Survey Shows More Classes on the Way
 
The Los Angeles Times reports on an informal survey conducted by the office of statewide Chancellor Brice W. Harris, which involved 70 California community colleges. The survey indicated 67 percent of the community colleges in the state plan to increase their course offerings for the summer semester. Another 23 percent said they would offer about the same number of classes they had on the schedule during the previous summer. Only 7 percent of community colleges in the state stated they planned to reduce the number of courses they were going to offer this summer. 
 
Credit for the increases goes in large part to the passage of Proposition 30 last November, which granted a temporary increase in sales tax and income tax on the wealthiest residents in the state. The increase revenues are going directly to fund education, with . . . read more

The good news is that more Latinos are headed to college today, whether they set their sights on a two-year or four-year institution. The bad news is that despite their lofty goals, many Latinos won’t make it to college completion. In fact, some may face serious obstacles just getting their foot in the door of higher education. With the Hispanic population increasing across the county, it may be up to community colleges to change the tide and provide the necessary training so this growing population can reach their full earning potential.
 
First, the Good News
 
NBC Latino reports that a record number of Latino students are heading to college today. According to a recent analysis from the Pew Hispanic Research Center, seven out of every 10 Latino high school students enrolled in college in 2012. That number is higher than the rate of both white and black high school students. The dropout rate for Latino students was also cut in half – from 28 percent in 2000, to 14 percent in 2011.
 
There are a number of possible factors that could be attributed to the increase, according to the researchers that conducted the analysis. First, Latino students may be finding that heading off for more education is more productive than searching for employment in a somewhat dismal job market. Another reason could be the increasing importance the Latino community is giving to higher education overall.
 
“The wider Latino community understands the importance of education for the future of education when it comes . . . read more

Three years ago, the U.S. Labor Department began issuing grants to community colleges that were ready and willing to train up the local workforce in their areas. Those schools that successfully partnered with area businesses to target training programs to the specific needs of employers were rewarded with federal funds to help them do so. Three years later, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program (TAACCCT) is still going strong, promising another $500 million to qualifying community colleges next year. What is the money being used for? Check out how community colleges are using these Labor Department grants to benefit students, colleges and the local workforce.
 
The Massachusetts Consortium Offers Variety of Options      
 
One of the federal grants has gone to a consortium of 15 community colleges across the state of Massachusetts, according to Inside Higher Ed. The $20 million in grant funding has been used to create new credentials for students and help them hone their job seeking skills to create better opportunities after graduation. To that end, each of the community colleges in the consortium now staffs a career and college navigator full time, to help students succeed in school and beyond graduation.
 
The Massachusetts program has focused on preparing students for careers in six key industries:
 
       ·      Advanced Manufacturing
       ·      Information Technology
       ·      Health Care
       ·      Financial Services
       ·      Green Energy
       ·      Biotechnology
 
While that may seem like a . . . read more

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
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