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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Although the college first told the Occupy Seattle movement it could use its campus as a home base, excessive costs and reports of vandalism are becoming big problems for Seattle Central Community College.
Community colleges have been fertile breeding grounds for students who want to exercise First Amendment rights over the years. However, one group in Seattle that is trying to do the same may be overstaying its welcome on a local community college campus. Seattle Central Community College has become the makeshift campground for the newly formed movement Occupy Seattle. However, after weighing the costs involved with added security and clean-up crews that have become necessary since the group moved in, community college officials are now looking for a way to oust Occupy Seattle from their campus.

Strange Bedfellows
 
Occupy Seattle moved onto the campus of Seattle Central Community College after they were told by city officials they were not allowed to pitch their tents in a municipal park, according to a report at The Seattle Times. The community college appeared to be a prime location for the movement, since the school had no rules on the books in regards to camping on campus. A local teachers’ union even invited the movement in and offered them free classes to help expand their cause, according to Seattle Pi.
 
The publication also reports that officials of the community college were never warm to the idea of allowing members of the movement to set up shop on their grounds and tried to ban the group at first. Without a rule in place to prevent it, however, the response to Occupy Seattle eventually had to be a reluctant “yes.”
 
“The president has made it really . . . read more

Who are the latest leadership colleges, as named by Achieving the Dream? Read this article to peruse the list and to learn about what goes into becoming a leader within this organization.
Community colleges that are a part of Achieving the Dream have shown they are committed to student success through a range of proven methodology. Those that are named leader colleges each year demonstrate exceptional standards of performance and practice, even among schools that have already been named as some of the top performers in the country. This year’s list of leader colleges provides a broad spectrum of community colleges spanning from coast to coast. We’ll take a look at some of the top community colleges on the 2011 Achieving the Dream leaders list and explore what it takes to become a part of this prestigious organization.

Four Principles Emphasized by Achieving the Dream
 
When it comes to improving student outcomes at community colleges across the country, Achieving the Dream subscribes to four basic principles that are highlighted on the organization’s website:

  • Committed Leadership – This principle states that leaders of community colleges are committed to the success of students across all demographics, rather than simply focusing on enrollment numbers.
  • Use of Evidence to Improve Programs and Services – Schools use data collected to determine gaps in student success and formulate effective strategies for bridging these gaps.
  • Broad Engagement – The success of students at a community college is dependent on collaboration between faculty, administration and student services, as well as constructive feedback from students themselves.
  • Systemic Institutional Improvement – Using the data collected, Achieving the Dream schools create and regularly evaluate programs designed to enhance student success.

While these four principles apply to . . . read more

Mental Health Grant Awarded to Community Colleges in California
A $6.9 million grant to California community colleges will go towards assisting with the mental health needs of students in the state.
Community college students can face many challenges on the road to a degree, including financial strains and the delicate balance between school, jobs and family responsibilities. Many community college students feel the stress of college life in negative ways, which can directly impact their ability to succeed in school and beyond. A large number also report mental health issues during their community college years, which include stress, depression and anxiety. In response to some of these complaints, the California community college system recently announced the distribution of nearly $7 million in grant money to help students cope with the pressures of life and survive their college experience.

Funding to be Split Among California Schools
 
According to a report at Los Angeles Business, the grants will be funded by the California Mental Health Services Authority. The $6.9 million allotted for the mental health needs of community college students will be split among 12 of the community colleges located throughout the state. The Signal reports that the funding will be used for training of staff and faculty, suicide prevention and peer-to-peer services. At least some of the money will be directed at students who are veterans and suffering with related mental health disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
 
“Our most recent data shows that stress, anxiety and depression are among the top factors that affect student performance,” Jack Scott, chancellor of California Community Colleges told Los Angeles Business. “This grant comes at a critical time as . . . read more

Growing Community Colleges Eye Expansion Opportunities
Many community colleges around the country are looking for ways to expand as their student enrollment continues to increase.
Community colleges across the country are growing by leaps and bounds for a variety of reasons. Some displaced workers are returning to school to gain additional training in industries that are currently hiring. High school graduates who are unable to afford tuition at a four-year university are now looking to community colleges as a viable option – at least in the short term. Finally, the focus on community colleges by President Obama has resulted in more Americans considering this option for continuing their education.

While growth at community colleges is good news for the schools and students nationwide, the additional enrollment has posed a problem for some schools that simply don’t have the space to accommodate a larger student body. The answer for some has been to look for ways to expand their campuses to allow for more classrooms and more student opportunities. We’ll take a look at a handful of the community colleges that are preparing for the expansion process this year.
 
Location, Location: New River Community College Looking for a Place to Expand
 
New River Community College is one school that is literally bursting at the seams. According to a report in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, this West Virginia school is feeling the growing pains of an expanding student body. The school is eyeing a number of locations in the community to grow their current campus they share with Mercer County Technical Education Center on Stafford Drive.
 
“We need extra space,” dean of . . . read more

Texas and Arkansas both Awarded Grants from Complete College America
Learn about the recent grant money awarded to Arkansas and Texas by Complete College America and how the money will be used to increase completion rates at colleges across the states.
Community colleges have traditionally adopted an all-inclusive policy when it comes to the students who want to earn an associate degree or professional certificate after high school. Unfortunately, the willingness to let all students into the programs, regardless of their high school academic records, has left many community colleges across the country with dismal completion rates, compared to many of the four-year institutions that carefully screen applicants prior to admittance. Some schools have met this problem head-on, developing remedial programs that actually work to keep college student in school until graduation. Some of the states where these schools are located recently received a financial boost from Complete College America, a non-profit organization solely committed to increasing community college completion rates nationwide.

The Problem in Texas
 
Texas is one of the states in the country that has struggled with getting community college students all the way to graduation. According to a report in the Texas Tribune, 48 percent of community college students in the state require some form of remedial education or additional assistance to get up to speed academically so they can handle the rigors of higher education. Nearly 38 percent of those students do not measure up in their math skills when they graduate from high school – a fact that directly impacts a student’s ability to succeed in college. To help many of these students, colleges currently offer remedial math classes to bring them up to par. However, remedial coursework has . . . read more
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