College Rankings & Accreditation

Are you attending one of the best community colleges? Do rankings matter? From the best schools in the US to those losing accreditation, we’ll provide you with the latest resources on community college rankings.
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The largest community college in California is destined to meet a dire fate one year from now, if heroic efforts to save the school are not successful. City College of San Francisco was recently notified by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges that it will lose accreditation by July 31, 2014. Although the school has few options left, extreme moves are in the works that could be the last hope for saving the failing school.
 
11 of 14 Changes Go Unaddressed
 
Problems for City College date far beyond the recent announcement of accreditation loss. San Francisco Gate reported that the commission evaluated the school in 2012, and made 14 recommendations for improvements that would save the schools accreditation status. Those 14 recommendations included:
  • A revised mission statement for the school
  • Use of the mission statement to allocate resources, with an increase of reserves
  • An assessment of the college’s effectiveness
  • Evaluations of all staff members responsible for student success
  • Determination of whether there is sufficient staff to ensure student success
  • Identification of priorities in class curriculum and effectiveness of current courses and programs
  • Assessment of whether student support services are hitting the mark
  • Development of an effective planning process
  • Leadership training for all staff and faculty members
  • Reporting of financial information through timely, accurate process
  • Inclusion of building operating costs in long-term financial planning
  • Development of plan for maintaining and updating information systems
  • Improvement of governance structure for more efficient decision-making
  • Adherence to bylaws and policies by college trustees
The college was placed on severe sanctions and given eight months to . . . read more

In the midst of major turnover from the top down, Pima Community College is now on probation. The Arizona school has been notified by its accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, that it has two years to turn things around or lose its accreditation status. With an executive team in limbo and reports of poor – and even unethical – management in recent years, it looks like Pima has its work cut out for the next two probationary years.
 
Problems from the Top Down
 
Tucson News Now reports that the problems at Pima that resulted in probation may have initiated from top administration officials. The publication specifically cites allegations of sexual harassment against Ray Flores, the former chancellor of the school, which were left unaddressed by school administrators for a number of years. The commission investigating the school also found a “hostile working environment” was reported by many staff members of the community college.
 
Other issues reported by the Arizona Daily Star include corrupt contracting practices. Executives of the school have been accused of approving expensive contracts without going through the appropriate bidding process. Throughout the accusations of mismanagement, there is a common thread of a culture cultivated of “fear and retribution” and an ineffective governing body that failed to address concerns or manage situations that made it challenging to work at the college.
 
Report Specifics that Led to Probation
 
Inside Higher Ed reports that the four-member accreditation team from the Higher Learning Commission found complex issues with the . . . read more

The Aspen Institute recently released its top 10 finalists for the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The award, which enjoyed its inaugural year last year, has quickly become the gold standard for community colleges across the country. The 10 schools on this list have demonstrated outstanding achievement in the areas of completion rates, learning outcomes, workforce preparedness and success of at-risk students. These 10 colleges were selected from more than 1,000 institutions that have received consistently high marks in these four areas throughout the past academic year.

The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence
 
The Aspen Institute initiated its award program last year, in response to calls by the White House to raise the bar on higher education. Community colleges serve as a practical place for many students, from those graduating from high school unable to afford a four-year university to professionals looking for additional career training. With so much focus placed on the role of community colleges over the past four years, the Aspen Institute established a plan to recognize and reward those schools that set the example and the standard for the rest of the community colleges nationwide.
 
The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence recognizes one winner each year, as well as four finalists. Those chosen by the Aspen Institute will split a prize package of $1 million. Last year’s winner, and the first recipient of the Aspen Prize, was Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida. This year, two more . . . read more

Community colleges in California are struggling, and at this point, it’s anybody’s guess how the problems with higher education in the state will eventually shake out. While much of the focus on California community colleges of late has centered on San Francisco City College's accreditation threats, this isn’t the only school getting low marks by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Many of the two-year schools around the state appear to be in trouble, although some are currently in hotter water than others. Can these schools, which are so vital to the student population and the employment outlook of the state, pull themselves out of the holes they are slowly sinking into?

Accreditation Sanctions Running Rampant
 
According to a report at the Sacramento Bee, numerous California community colleges across the state are in trouble with the accreditation commission. Three of these schools, including San Francisco City College, are facing the most severe “show cause” sanctions. In addition, 10 campuses have been placed on “probation” status and another 14 have received “warning” status. All of the schools have been given specific guidelines they must follow if they want to improve their status by the next accreditation evaluation; however, the three schools in the most dire circumstances also have the most work to do.
 
“The problems colleges have run into with accreditation are abnormally acute at this point in time in California,” David Baime, senior vice president with the American Association of Community Colleges, told the Sacramento Bee . . . read more

After a full year of carefully assessing community colleges around the country, the Aspen Institute has recognized the top five performing schools with acclaim and hefty financial prizes. The awards were announced at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., where educators, business leaders and lawmakers were all in attendance. These five schools represent a broad base of institutions of higher education, in terms of demographics, location and areas of specialization.

About the Aspen Institute Award
 
The Aspen Institute began their quest for the top community college with a short list of 1,000 community colleges across the country. According to the Aspen Institute website, colleges were assessed on the following criteria:
 
       ·         Student Learning
       ·         Degree Completion and Transfer Rates
       ·         Equity in Education
       ·         Employment and Earning Potential after College
 
Improvement was also an area of careful scrutiny, particularly in regards to completion rates. With these factors in mind, the Aspen Institute was able to narrow the initial list of 1,000 schools to 120 by this past spring. From there, the organization chose 10 finalists to award prizes; one top school was awarded $600,000, four runners-up each received $100,000, and five additional schools each received a glass trophy for their efforts.
 
The Focus on Community Colleges
 
The role of community colleges in higher education has long been underestimated, but President Obama breathed new life into these institutions when he set an ambitious goal of graduating eight million more students from college by 2020. To achieve that goal, the President has said time and . . . read more
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Nearly 52 percent of community college students in the United States begin their freshman year in at least one remedial class. These courses, which help students acquire knowledge and skills they should have acquired in high school, do not count toward their degree requirements. As a result, students are taking longer than ever to obtain their degree, if they obtain one at all.
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