Arizona Community Colleges Defunded: What Students Need to Know

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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Most college students want to spend their winter, spring, and summer breaks relaxing and having fun with their friends and family. The grind of going to class, doing homework, and studying for tests can take its toll as the semester goes on. However, for students who wish to get ahead, for those that need to make up some credits because of a bad grade here and there, or for students that have work or family obligations, taking courses during these breaks is a smart choice.
Many community colleges recognize the appeal of taking courses while regular classes are not in session. Summer courses are obviously the most popular, with many community colleges offering just as many courses during the summer session as they do during the regular school year. In fact, some community colleges have seen double-digit increases in summer enrollment over the last few years, fueling an ongoing expansion of course schedules to accommodate increasing demand. But many colleges are also offering courses during shorter breaks, particularly those that occur during the spring and winter. 
In recent years, colleges across the country have begun to offer alternative options for earning college credit as well. Some schools have opened pathways for students to receive credit for experiences they’ve had at work or in life in general. Other institutions allow students to test out of certain courses in favor of enrolling in higher-level courses instead. Still other colleges offer college credit to students that perform community service or who
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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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Heading off to college is a time filled with excitement about the future. Meeting new people, learning new things, and experiencing college life are all events that many college students look forward to. Yet, college is also an extremely stressful time. The cost of college attendance, increased academic demands, and concerns about dating, relationships, and friendships are all common factors that contribute to an increasing number of college students that report a mental health issue.
If you find yourself feeling down, anxious, or otherwise mentally unwell, you are definitely not alone. Research from the American Psychological Association shows that 44 percent of students that seek help at their college counseling center have a severe psychological issue. That’s up from just 10 percent in 2000!   Most mental health issues present themselves between the ages of 18-24 as well. 
The National Alliance of Mental Illness surveyed college students diagnosed with a mental health condition within the last five years, with 19% of the surveyed individuals being community colleges.  Depression and bipolar disorder constituted more than 50% of the respondents' diagnoses.  The results across the spectrum were:   
In this article, we review several common mental health problems that community college students face, as well as solutions to help you get back on a path to good mental health.
According to research by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 27 percent
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Going to college represents a piece of the American dream. Students can expand their minds, learn new skills, meet new people, and enjoy intellectual, social, and cultural experiences they might otherwise not have a chance to experience. But it also represents an opportunity for students to improve themselves by preparing for post-collegiate employment.
The advantages of attending community college are numerous. You can graduate sooner, usually in just two years. The skills you acquire are often immediately applicable to the workplace, making you an attractive candidate for fast employment. There’s also the cost – community college is much less expensive than four-year institutions, meaning that more of the money you begin to earn goes into your pocket and not towards paying off student loans. 
Another advantage is that as the economy continues to grow, many of the most in-demand jobs are those that require only an associate’s degree. An added bonus is that a number of these jobs offer excellent income potential, with starting salaries for many of these in-demand occupations in the $40,000-$50,000 range.  Some jobs even offer the potential to earn a six-figure salary with just a community college degree
The trick is to find something that you are both passionate about and that will allow you to earn a comfortable living. Unfortunately, not everyone’s passion will be in a career area that is growing quickly, or that pays well. However, if you have an interest in a job in the medical field,
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