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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First Ever National Community College Survey: The Surprising Results!
Be surprised by the results from the first ever national community college survey, which found that students value their internet connection more than their instructors!
Community colleges have come to the forefront of post-secondary education since President Obama made them one of his top areas of focus over the first two years of his administration. To determine exactly what type of impact community colleges might have on adults and industries across the country, the first national community college survey was conducted last year. The data, collected by the Pearson Foundation, share some insight into who is going to community college today and some of the major challenges these institutions and their students face.

Who is Attending Community College?
 
One part of the survey took a look at the types of students community colleges are frequently seeing today, and the results were reported in the Washington Post. This information can help colleges determine the best courses, faculty and schedules to accommodate their student body demographics. The Pearson Foundation study found:

  • One-third of the student population at community colleges were enrolling in college right after graduating from high school.
  • One-third was returning to college from the workforce, presumably to get additional training for their current job or education necessary to switch careers.
  • One-third was taking community college course for self-improvement or enjoyment purposes.
  •  Half the students surveyed were age 26 or older.
  • About 60 percent were planning to transfer to a four-year university after completing their community college degree program (actual transfer rates are actually much lower).
It appears that the large majority of community college students are much older than the average student attending a four-year university. In addition, many . . . read more

Community College Expelled Nursing Student for Placenta Facebook Picture: The Controversy
A nursing student at Johnson County Community College has been expelled for posting a picture of her and a placenta on her Facebook profile. Read about the controversy and the ensuing lawsuits.
Social media and social mores have once again collided in a Midwestern controversy involving a community college and four of its nursing students. A lawsuit was filed in Kansas last week by one of the nursing students, Doyle Byrnes, charging that Johnson County Community College dismissed her without due process after she posted photographs of herself with a human placenta on her Facebook page. The college said the students behaved unprofessionally, and the school's decision to dismiss them was appropriate under the circumstances. We will take a look at both sides of the controversy in this article.

How it Happened
 
According to a report on Inside Higher Ed, the nursing students from the college took a trip to nearby Olathe Medical Center in November. The purpose of the trip was to learn about the functions of a placenta, the organ that supplies life-sustaining nutrients to a growing fetus inside the womb. The medical center provided a donated human placenta as an example for the lesson. 
 
During the lesson, Byrnes and three of her classmates asked the community college instructor, Amber Delphia, if they could take photographs of the placenta in question. According to a report at the Courthouse News Service, Byrnes also told Delphia she intended to post the photographs on Facebook. Byrnes said that Delphia allowed them to take the pictures, after ensuring no indentifying information about the patient would be included in the photos. When Byrnes told her about the Facebook intentions, Delphia's response was simply, "Oh, . . . read more

Community Colleges Fight Back Against For-Profit Attacks: The Rebuttal
After being attacked by private colleges, community colleges are mounting a defense and publishing studies that clearly outline the differences between the public and private institutions.
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:


Community colleges are under siege from for-profit colleges. Learn about the lawsuits and reports and whether the claims are fact or fiction.
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

President Obama and Dr. Jill Biden give community colleges proper credit and discuss strategies for improving the support given to these campuses at the first ever White House Summit on community colleges.
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
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