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.
View the most popular articles in Community College News:
There’s a change coming in California.
Recently, a measure passed that allows community colleges in California to offer 4 year degrees. Until now such offerings have been the sole province of other institutions. Now, the game has changed.
On September 28, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 850 (Block) authorizing up to 15 California community college districts to offer a single Baccalaureate degree on a pilot basis. Ultimately, the goal of the bill is to create one million bachelor’s-degree jobs by 2025.
California Community Colleges Four Year 2
A Better College System
Former California State Senator Dean Florez says this measure is a powerful move in the right direction. “Allowing California Community colleges to offer four year skill-based degrees has grown from a long simmering recognition—from students, employers and government leaders—that skills matter more today than how and where they were acquired. This new four-year program offers students a more accessible and shorter education pathway with a recognized skill-based credential.” 
“Students benefit with a tailored personalized degree program directed in part by employers, blending their career needs with an affordable degree.  It is also very cost effective, given the planned BA degrees will be under $10,000 dollars, which is nearly one-half the cost of California State's four year schools and one-eighth the cost of a traditional University of California four-year degree.  Most community college students can't afford to give up four or five years of income while accumulating six-figure debt, so this degree
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As much of the country expands funding for community colleges, and with that funding, improved course offerings and increased access to higher education, Arizona has taken the unusual step of taking funding away from some of its community college systems.  In fact, according to data just released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Arizona continues its legacy in 2015 as it did in 2014: leading America in slashes to funding – and in tuition increases.   
Most impacted are two of the state’s largest community college districts – Maricopa County Community College system and Pima Community College. For several years, budget cuts for higher education spending have been the norm. However, what makes these proposed cuts significant is that it removes state funding altogether. Rather than getting a few million dollars, both the Maricopa and Pima community college systems would receive zero dollars in the next fiscal year as part of the state’s new budget.   What does this mean for students? 
Uproar from Higher Ed
Understandably, higher education officials in Arizona are not pleased with this outcome. Arizona currently ranks first in terms of higher education funding cuts. This is due in part to drastic moves by the state during the Great Recession to remain solvent. However, although the Great Recession has ended, spending is still being cut in Arizona as the state faces a $1.5 billion budget shortfall.
In fact, the latest round of proposed cuts is just one in
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So you want to go to college but can’t afford it. Perhaps you don’t want to take out loans that will take you decades to pay off. Or maybe you don’t think you’d get many (or any) scholarships or grants because your grades are just good enough but not that great, or because you make just enough money to not be considered in great financial need.
If the President has his way, none of this will matter.
In January in his State of the Union Address, President Obama outlined a $60 billion plan that would make community college free for everyone. And while ‘everyone’ doesn’t actually mean everyone, the plan still would open a lot of doors for students who may not otherwise be able to attend college.
What are the Criteria?
The criteria for tuition-free community college under the Obama plan are fairly straightforward. Students must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA, which works out to a smattering of Bs and Cs – grades that are easily achieved by most students. Attendance must be at least half-time, which is typically considered to be six or more credit hours each semester. That’s just two classes per semester, which again, is easily achievable by most students, even those that work or have other obligations outside of school. In short, students that put in the effort would get a free education.
There is, however, a third criterion. Presumably to limit the long-term
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In their quest to find effective transfer agreements for their students, community colleges appear to be tapping an unlikely source – for-profit schools. The University of Phoenix has announced partnerships pending with a number of community colleges across the country to offer students at these schools seamless four-year degree options. However, not everyone believes the union between for-profit schools and community colleges will be an amicable or beneficial one.
100 New Partnerships Announced by For-Profit
The American Independent reports that the University of Phoenix plans to launch more than 100 partnerships with various community colleges nationwide during this upcoming school year. The for-profit university hopes that the new arrangements will provide the financial shot in the arm the institution needs after suffering significant budget setbacks in recent years. Reputation is also a concern for University of Phoenix, as the for-profit sector has been plagued with reports of low completion rates and high student debt.
Despite promises of dozens of partnerships by the end of 2013, the University of Phoenix has only finalized agreements with a handful of community colleges thus far. The most notable is a transfer agreement with Northern Virginia Community College, also known as NOVA. NOVA has received plenty of attention from the recent administration, since this is the school where Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, teaches.
The second system that has formed a partnership with the University of Phoenix is the Maricopa Community College System in Arizona. According to a press
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A new study finds that a growing number of adjunct professors could be contributing to low completion rates at community colleges across the state of Massachusetts. The study, which was conducted by the Massachusetts Teacher Association, failed to make a direct correlation between adjunct faculty and low completion rates. However, those involved in the study, as well as others in the community college population, agree that adjunct professors simply don’t have the time or resources to help students succeed the way full-time professors can.

More Adjunct Faculty Seen Statewide
The study, titled, “Reverse the Course: Changing Staffing and Funding Policies at Massachusetts Community Colleges,” found that less than one-third of courses taught at community colleges in the state are taught by full-time faculty members. According to the MTA website, that number has been steadily declining since the 2004-2005 school year, when it was 34%. Today, that number is more like 28%.

During the same time, the study found that only around 17% of students enrolled in community colleges across the state successfully completed their degree programs. The dismal number was limited to first-time community college students who failed to earn a two-year degree within three years. Researchers attributed the low rates to a growing number of adjunct faculty members.
“This practice of failing to expand the state-funded faculty in favor of Division of Continuing Education (adjunct) faculty contributes to the problem of low student outcomes,” the report was quoted as stating at the Telegram.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Adjunct
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Recent Articles
November 05, 2015
More and more, students are choosing to go to community college over traditional four-year universities but community colleges still have a bad reputation. Learn why in this informative article.
September 15, 2015
While study abroad has long been considered an option only for students at four-year colleges and universities, there are actually many options for community college students who would like to experience studying in another country.
August 06, 2015
Recently, a measure passed that allows community colleges in California to offer 4 year degrees. Until now such offerings have been the sole province of other institutions. Now, the game has changed.
Community College News