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:
- What are the Biggest Issues Facing Community Colleges Today? New Study has Answers
- Community Colleges Are Changing Strategies to Increase Enrollment
- Why Obama is Hailed as the Community College President
- Who Will Lead Community Colleges into the Future?
- What Can Community Colleges Learn from this Year’s Aspen Prize Winners?
Leading the country in slashing public education spending, Arizona voted to defund higher education, including Pima and Maricopa Community College Districts, leaving many Arizona college students wondering what this new state legislation means for the future of their education.
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
Earlier this year, President Obama outlined a proposal that would make community college free for millions of community college students. What does it mean for you?
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 costs of the program, the plan would be
The University of Phoenix has unveiled plans to partner with numerous community colleges nationwide, but not everyone is on board with the new plan.
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 release
new study by the Massachusetts Teachers Association has urged the state to hire more full-time faculty members at community colleges after uncovering a host of issues related to a growing adjunct faculty at these schools.
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
It may be months from Christmas, but this summer has become the season of giving – and receiving – for many community colleges across the country.
Few people may be pulling out the Christmas lights or playing the carols just yet, but at community colleges across the country, the season of giving has already begun. Whether schools are helping those in need in their communities, or receiving assistance from generous donors, ‘tis the season for many of these schools. Check out how some community colleges are celebrating the giving – and receiving – season a little early this year.
Kauai Community College Reaches Out to Vets
This Hawaiian community college is making a point to provide opportunities to veterans on the Islands – particularly vets interested in pursuing higher education. The Garden Island reports faculty from the school recently met with area vets to brainstorm ways the school could reach out more effectively to this population. According to the article, the school had 41 vets enrolled during the past spring semester and would like to see that number increase.
“Kauai Community College is committed to serving the veterans by assisting them in enrolling in higher education, career counseling, succeeding in college, and finding a job,” Earl Nishiguchi, vice chancellor for student affairs, told The Garden Island.
The meeting consisted of college employees listening to concerns raised by veterans and other military personnel in attendance. The hope is that this meeting will spark a partnership between the college and military community that will lead to increased educational and career success for vets who call the Islands home.
St. Louis Community College Cleans Up the Neighborhood
Students from St. Louis
We look at why millions of Americans are choosing community college over a traditional four-year school today.
Many students enroll in community college with the intent of transferring to a four-year school. Of those who do, many succeed, and yet traditional colleges and universities continue to overlook them. Read on to learn more about why more community college students don’t transfer schools and to receive some tips for making the transfer yourself.
Community college is the only option for many students who either can’t afford a traditional four-year university or who need a more flexible school environment. Just because community college is different, however, doesn’t mean that its students matter any less. The Aspen Prize exists to encourage community colleges to do more for their students and to continually strive for improvement.