Graduation

Graduation rates, policies, and caps - oh my! This section covers all topics related to community college graduations. How does state spending impact graduation rates? Who are the oldest community college graduates? What initiatives are in place to stem the rate of dropouts? Find the answers to these questions and more.
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One of the biggest obstacles community colleges face today is the ability to retain students until they graduate or transfer to another institution. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), just one in five public community college students graduate with their certificate or associate’s degree within three years. Students pursuing a two-year degree have a much lower chance of achieving their educational goals than those who begin their academic careers at a four-year university, as the graduation for students at four-year institutions is nearly 60 percent.




However, a college degree is imperative today for individuals who want to gain employment that offers sufficient income to support themselves and their families. Community colleges are an especially good place to get an education because of the convenience and affordability many two-year institutions offer. To help students reach their goals, colleges are getting creative in their methods of student retention.
 
President Obama has set a high bar for colleges across the country: to have the highest college graduation rates in the world by the year 2020. However, this is a very tall task. According to report by 24/7 Wall St., from 2000-2011, the college graduation growth rate in the United States was a paltry 1.4 percent – one of the slowest rates of any developed country. While the U.S. has climbed the list of most educated countries – moving up to fifth place from seventh place – there is still much work to . . . read more

Many community college students today understand all too well the frustration of trying to put together a schedule each semester, but finding themselves on waiting lists. The overload leaves numerous students requiring more time to complete their degrees – and postpones their opportunities in the professional, post-academic world.

One community college has come up with what they believe is a solution to this collegiate quandary.
 
What if you could skip to the front of waiting lists, just by paying more? Students at Bristol Community College in Massachusetts will now have the chance to register for an academic "fast track" that will allow them to graduate faster – for an increased tuition rate, according to reports by The Boston Globe and USA Today.
 
A Proposal by the Princeton Review
 
The idea comes from the Princeton Review, a company that had previously been primarily involved in assessments and standardized test preparation. Since the acquisition of Penn Foster, a career training provider, a few months ago, the Princeton Review has jumped into the world of continuing education.  Like a few other for-profit colleges, Princeton Review is currently in the process of teaming up with community colleges that offer allied healthcare degrees to provide faster access to degrees. These programs will come at a higher price tag than standard programs at the same institutions, providing both the college and the Princeton Review with a healthy profit margin as well.
 
The Princeton Review asserts that there are long waiting lists for healthcare degree . . . read more

Are you taking unnecessary classes at your community college? You may be able to skip certain prerequisite courses by simply taking placement tests and earning passing AP test scores. If you can qualify for just 20 hours of course credit through your testing, you stand to save an average of $3,000 in tuition costs. In addition, by testing out of these courses, you not only save money, but can graduate or transfer early and enter into the job market more expeditiously. 
 
How to Test out of College Classes
 
The purpose of placement tests is to determine whether or not a student has mastered the particular subject matter. While testing options will vary at each community college, all students should be able to take placement tests that will earn you course credits. For example, at Warren Community College in Michigan, students can "Accelerate their graduation from college by taking exams including Advanced Placement exams, the College Level Examination Placement tests or the Warren County Community College Institutional Credit by Exam tests." Through these exams, students can earn 30 to 45 hours of course credit - without having to actually sit in class!
 
Students attending Warren Community College can take the College Level Examination Placement (CLEP) or can earn credits through alternative exams:
  • CLEP - You can earn credit for college courses by taking CLEP exams, which are proctored by the College Board. Upon evaluation of the test scores, college officials can evaluate whether or not a student's CLEP performance is . . . read more

As you enter into your freshman year of community college, are you already imagining your earned cap and gown on graduation day? Despite goals and ambitions of completing a community college program, research conducted by the academic journal Community College Review reveals that there are specific factors that may indicate whether or not freshman students return to subsequent semesters while continuing to complete their degree.

As the authors David and Renea Fike reveal, “Though it costs more to recruit new students than it does to retain current students, institutions often focus on student recruitment rather than student retention […] Institutions budget for recruiters and associated expenses such as travel and recruiting materials. Recruiting is essential for getting students enrolled. But once they are enrolled, what are institutions doing to retain them?”
 
Why is Student Retention Important?
 
According to Fike, student retention is important for various significant reasons. At the basic level, retention rates are necessary for a school’s financial stability and sustained academic progress. Adding to this, “The federal Higher Education Act may use graduation rates as a measure of institutional effectiveness.” On a more personal level, students deserve to engage in a positive collegiate experience, where they are able to “complete their academic goals, and enter the workforce.”
 
Analysis of Community College Students and Graduation Expectancies
 
Currently, the average attrition rate of community college students is approximately 41% from the first to the second year of school. To improve the success of students and school performances, Fike asserts that “it is incumbent upon higher education institutions to . . . read more
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Community Colleges: Bigger Buck Bang than For-Profits
A recent study reveals that job applicants with a credential or associate’s degree from a community college have slightly better chances of getting a job interview than students who attend a for-profit college or university. Since community colleges are much more budget friendly than for-profit institutions and have much better job placement results, community colleges are a much better option for employment-minded students.
Freshman Year in College Looks More and More Like High School
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.
Student Issues / Attending College

GRADUATION