Community College News

Stay abreast of all the news and reports impacting community colleges. This section covers the latest news stories, from campus protests to Wal-Mart partnerships. Read community college reactions to the latest State of the Union address, identify schools receiving big donations, and analyze the latest laws impacting community colleges and their students.
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The annual President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is out for 2012, and a number of community colleges made the list this year. This honor roll was originally created to highlight institutions of higher education that make significant contributions to their communities through the efforts of students and staff. The schools that made the grade have proven track records for giving back to the areas where they are located.

About the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll
 
The website for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) explains that the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll was first launched in 2006 to showcase the “role colleges and universities play in solving community problems” and to get more students started on a “lifelong path of civic engagement.” Originally inspired by the service of college students nationwide after Hurricane Katrina, the honor roll strives to recognize schools that “achieve meaningful, measurable outcomes in the communities they serve.”
 
The honor roll is a collaboration between the CNCS, the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Contact, and the American Council on Education. Finalists are chosen through a series of criteria that include scope and innovation of service projects, the incorporation of service-learning into course curriculum, the commitment of the institution to long-term partnerships with community organizations and the measurable community outcomes as a result of the service projects.
 
This year's honor roll was announced at the American Council on Education’s annual meeting on March 12, 2012, in . . . read more

College students have been traditionally known for their willingness to exercise their First Amendment rights,and today’s student is no exception. In fact, college students have been voicing their opinions on everything from community college reorganization to tuition hikes, with protests from coast to coast. Check out two of the issues on either side of the country that currently have many community college student up-in-arms.

California Students Protest Tuition Hikes, Education Cuts
 
On the west coast, college students have come out in droves to protest deep state budget cuts that have resulted in higher tuition rates and cuts to classes and student services. The UC Berkeley News Center reports that an estimated 8,000 students flocked to Sacramento earlier this month to stage a mass demonstration on the steps of the state capitol. The crowd included students, faculty and administrative staff from the state’s universities and community colleges.
 
“Students, faculty, staff, administrators – we are all on the same side in wanting to maintain a strong university, and there was real consensus among the deans that taking the bus to Sacramento today would be a good thing to do,” Kim Voss, acting dean of social sciences at Berkeley, told the UC Berkeley News Center. The news service reported that more than 50 students and staff traveled from the college to Sacramento to support the protest movement.
 
A campus-wide email was sent out at the school, encouraging those who could to head to Sacramento to make their voices heard. The email . . . read more

Students interested in pursuing higher education are often counseled to look for a college or university that is accredited. However, for many community colleges in California, accreditation cannot be taken for granted. Many two-year schools around the state are at risk of losing their accreditation.  They must show good reason why their accreditation should remain intact, or lose it altogether. Why is accreditation important and what do colleges have to do keep it? Many California schools are learning the answers to those questions firsthand.

The Importance of Accreditation
 
According to the website for the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, accreditation is a “voluntary activity initiated by the institution” that “emphasizes quality assurance and a commitment to continuous quality enhancement.” Accreditation can be important to an institution because it plays a factor in the following:
 
       ·         Determining whether the school meets minimum quality standards
       ·         Providing potential students with important information about a school
       ·         Assisting in the determination of credit transfers between schools
       ·         Showing prospective employers the value of the education received at the school
       ·         Evaluating eligibility for tuition reimbursement programs offered by employers
       ·         Enabling graduates to sit for certification examinations
       ·         Creating goals for self-improvement of the institution
       ·         Providing self-assessment for the oversight functions required by the state
       ·         Offering a basis for determining federal student assistance
 
In many of these factors, accreditation makes all the difference in the quality of the degree a student earns and where he can take his studies after graduation. Accreditation is typically judged . . . read more

While community colleges appreciated the shout-out they received during President Obama’s recent State of the Union address, most say that to accomplish what the president is proposing will take more resources than they currently have. Even the schools that currently have programs in place similar to those the President proposed said they could do much more if they had more – from state and federal governments. While it remains to be seen whether additional funding will come, the first step – raising awareness for the important role community colleges play in today’s employment scene – was accomplished through the President’s speech.

What the President Said
 
According to a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education, President Obama focused on the plight facing many hard-working Americans who are unable to “enjoy the American Dream” the way previous generations have. The Presidents referred to the problem as “the defining issue of our time,” and stated in his speech, “We shouldn’t settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by.” The president called for “an economy where everyone gets a fair shot and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”
 
To that end, the President touted community colleges as one of the key players in putting America back to work. Obama stated in his address that community colleges were at the forefront of worker training programs across the country, and called . . . read more

India represents a huge population that boasts an exceptionally high percentage of youth under the age of 14. In an effort to use that percentage to launch India into world leadership rankings, education has become a priority for the entire country. The Wadhwani Foundation, an Indian non-profit committed to improving the quality of life in this country, recently formed a partnership with an American community college to bring skill-based training to the youth of India. The partnership promises to provide resources to the youth of the country who want to break the cycle of poverty through post-secondary education and lucrative career options.

The New Agreement
 
According to a local article in the Washington Post, the agreement between the Virginia Foundations for Community College Education and the India-based Wadhwani Foundation will enable the American colleges to promote skills-based training overseas. Community colleges in this country specialize in such post-secondary education, preparing students of all ages for specific career paths. However, India schools have not been equipped to provide their growing middle class with the same benefits skills-based training offers, until the Wadhwani Foundation made education a priority in improving the standard of living in that country.
 
The agreement was announced by U.S. Senator Mark Warner. The democrat is a member of the five-person delegation planning a visit to various cities in India, including New Delhi, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Kolkata. The purpose of the visit is to discuss expanding relationships between the United States and India through business, defense, trade . . . read more
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