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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A debate has been raging in the world of higher education recently, after for-profit colleges launched attacks on community colleges. In the wake of the first, and much anticipated, White House Summit on Community Colleges, criticism has been circulating about the "unsavory recruitment practices" of these institutions, according to a report on Inside Higher Ed. Community colleges have also been accused of providing less-than-stellar academic quality, course availability and individual attention to students. Now, community colleges are fighting back against accusations, with a new study designed to point out the differences between these institutions and their for-profit counterparts.
 
Just How Similar?

The American Association of Community Colleges recently released a brief titled, "Just How Similar? Community Colleges and the For-Profit Sector." The study focuses on the fundamental differences between community and for-profit colleges that makes it difficult to compare the two types of institutions according to the criteria that have been used recently. According to a press release on PR Newswire, while the post-secondary institutions may offer a number of common programs, that tends to be where the similarities end. These institutions serve a widely different population, which results in different outcomes and success rates overall.
 
Some of the differences noted in this study include:


For-profit colleges seem to face an uphill battle these days, both on campus and on Capitol Hill. Enrollment, which skyrocketed during the heat of the recession, is beginning to plummet. Some surveys are showing students from for-profit colleges unhappy with the education they received vs. the money they paid. Some for-profit colleges are even facing class-action suits for misleading advertising or an inability to deliver on their promises.
 
Perhaps it should be no surprise that these institutions are turning on their community college counterparts, releasing a recent survey conducted by Norton/Norris Inc. that found similar complaints with community colleges. The results of this survey were published on Business Wire and report that community colleges are also purportedly dealing in unsavory recruitment practices and providing low quality in terms of education. The results were released just prior to the summit on community colleges hosted by the White House earlier this month.
 
What the Numbers Show
 
The Norton/Norris survey found a lack of transparency in reporting important information like graduation rates, employment rates and pass rates on certification examinations. The survey also found:

  • Community colleges are not living up to their expectations in terms of course availability, relevance of coursework and schedule flexibility.
  • The colleges are not providing high quality education in their academic offerings.
  • Many students leave community colleges due to family issues, lack of availability of courses and concerns about the quality of education.

Dr. Jean Norris, lead researcher on the study, told Business Wire, "At a time when community colleges are . . . read more

Community colleges are being hailed as the saviors of the future of America's economic and academic stronghold. However, these institutions still fight against a slew of challenges, including drop-out rates of nearly 50% and an overall perception that a community college education is less valuable than a degree from a four-year university. President Obama, along with Dr. Jill Biden, have attempted to at least address some of those challenges in the first-ever community college summit held at the White House this month.
 
Purpose of the Summit
 
This community college summit was scheduled to meet a very specific purpose, according to information found at WhiteHouse.gov. President Obama organized the gathering to bring experts together to discuss the role community colleges will play in training a competent workforce for the future. Community colleges are also imperative to help President Obama successfully reach his lofty goal of leading the world with the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.
 
This website states that community colleges provide the largest portion of higher education in this country, with an enrollment of more than eight million students during the last academic year. Statistics support the fact that these institutions are in a prime position to raise the bar on workforce training in this country overall.
 
Dr. Jill Biden, who has taught in community colleges for 17 years, understands this concept better than anyone. That is exactly why President Obama appointed Dr. Biden to oversee the summit to determine how community colleges can become the . . . read more

With college graduation rates trailing today, more emphasis is being placed on community colleges as a means of assuring our country’s future economic stability. A recent AP poll suggests that the majority of Americans are realizing the many benefits of a community college education, bolstering the image of these institutions as a viable alternative to four-year universities today. This poll comes at the same time the White House has launched the first ever summit on community colleges.

What the Numbers Show
 
According to a report on Google News, the Associated Press and Stanford University conducted a poll to find out what Americans' attitudes were toward community college. The poll found that the vast majority of Americans (71%) believe it is advantageous for some students to attend a community college, rather than a four-year institution. Nearly the same number polled agreed that an education received from a community college is "excellent" or "good."
 
The poll also asked whether community colleges do a good job of preparing students for a professional job after graduation. Out of the individuals polled, 62% said community colleges adequately prepare students for the work force, while 68% said that four-year universities succeed in this goal. These numbers indicate that the majority of Americans today are pleased with the education received at a two-year college, improving the image of community colleges in the world of higher education overall.
 
The only groups that did not find community colleges on par with other institutions were Blacks and Hispanics . . . read more

A number of Florida community colleges notified faculty and students last week about a potential security leak that may leave them vulnerable to identity theft. According to a report on Wakulla.com, as many as 126,000 individuals at six Florida colleges may have found their personal information inadvertently posted on the Internet between May 29 and June 2 of this year.
 
The colleges have notified affected individuals that the leak occurred, but what steps should they take to protect their personal and financial records? 
 
Who is Responsible?
 
A report on SC Magazine states that a glitch in the College Center for Library Information's software led to the leak. According to the CCLA website, this organization provides automated library services and electronic resources to many Florida colleges. The organization determined that the leak occurred during a software upgrade, and they were unaware of the problem until a student reported finding personal information during a Google search.
 
"We pride ourselves on protecting private information and deeply regret this inadvertent exposure," CCLA CEO Richard Madaus said in a statement posted on SC Magazine, as well as other news publications. Madaus added, "I apologize to those involved for any worry or inconvenience this may cause them. We will continue to enhance our technology to safeguard all of the information entrusted to us."
 
Who was Affected?
 
Six Florida colleges were included in the leak, including:
 
       ·        Broward College
 
       ·        Florida State College at Jacksonville
 
       ·        Northwest Florida State College
 
       ·        Pensacola State College
 
       ·        South Florida Community College
 
       ·        . . . read more
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