2009-2014

New Poll: What Americans Really Think of Community Colleges

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New Poll: What Americans Really Think of Community Colleges
Have community colleges shaken their unfair reputation as being "13th" grade? A new poll shows that more Americans are seeing community colleges in a positive light.
With college graduation rates trailing today, more emphasis is being placed on community colleges as a means of assuring our country’s future economic stability. A recent AP poll suggests that the majority of Americans are realizing the many benefits of a community college education, bolstering the image of these institutions as a viable alternative to four-year universities today. This poll comes at the same time the White House has launched the first ever summit on community colleges.
 

What the Numbers Show

According to a report on Google News, the Associated Press and Stanford University conducted a poll to find out what Americans' attitudes were toward community college. The poll found that the vast majority of Americans (71%) believe it is advantageous for some students to attend a community college, rather than a four-year institution. Nearly the same number polled agreed that an education received from a community college is "excellent" or "good."

The poll also asked whether community colleges do a good job of preparing students for a professional job after graduation. Out of the individuals polled, 62% said community colleges adequately prepare students for the work force, while 68% said that four-year universities succeed in this goal. These numbers indicate that the majority of Americans today are pleased with the education received at a two-year college, improving the image of community colleges in the world of higher education overall.
 
The only groups that did not find community colleges on par with other institutions were Blacks and Hispanics.
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Community Colleges Leak Private Information: How to Protect Yourself

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Community Colleges Leak Private Information: How to Protect Yourself
Community college students in Florida are at risk of identity theft. Learn about what private information was accidentally published on public community college websites and how students can take action to guard their identities.
A number of Florida community colleges notified faculty and students last week about a potential security leak that may leave them vulnerable to identity theft. According to a report on Wakulla.com, as many as 126,000 individuals at six Florida colleges may have found their personal information inadvertently posted on the Internet between May 29 and June 2 of this year.
CCLA website
The colleges have notified affected individuals that the leak occurred, but what steps should they take to protect their personal and financial records? 
 
Who is Responsible?
 
A report on SC Magazine states that a glitch in the College Center for Library Information's software led to the leak. According to the CCLA website, this organization provides automated library services and electronic resources to many Florida colleges. The organization determined that the leak occurred during a software upgrade, and they were unaware of the problem until a student reported finding personal information during a Google search.
 
"We pride ourselves on protecting private information and deeply regret this inadvertent exposure," CCLA CEO Richard Madaus said in a statement posted on SC Magazine, as well as other news publications. Madaus added, "I apologize to those involved for any worry or inconvenience this may cause them. We will continue to enhance our technology to safeguard all of the information entrusted to us."
 
This video explains how to prevent a security breach.
 
 
Who was Affected?
 
Six Florida colleges were included in the leak, including:
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Why President Obama is Hailed as the Community College President

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Why President Obama is Hailed as the Community College President
Learn how President Obama, who is considered the "Community College President," has rightly earned his title based upon his proposed funding and support for community colleges throughout the country.
Community colleges often see growth in enrollment during economic recessions, as recently laid-off workers look to gain more marketable skills and new high school graduates hope to save money on college tuition. However, the current booming popularity of community colleges can also be attributed to President Obama, who is being hailed as the "Community College President."

Community college teachers, students, and administrators have been buoyed by Obama's continued focus on these historically under-appreciated institutions of higher education. Obama believes that community colleges must play a key role in helping America to recover from the recession and to regain its place as an educational leader in the developed world. 
 
If Obama’s recently unveiled American Graduate Initiative is carried out, community colleges could see an unprecedented period of growth over the next decade.

Wick Sloane writes in Inside Higher Education: "The big Obama accomplishment: “During the height of the economic meltdown, we not only sustained but more than doubled, funding for the Pell Grant program, enabling more than nine million more low-income students to go to college. When you think about it, we’ve given more than 17 million Pell Grants to students from low-income families since the start of our administration than otherwise would have been provided, an average of around three million more each year. Year after year after year!” That’s from the 2013 “swan song” of Martha Kanter, Obama’s first undersecretary of education."
 
In this video, President Obama explains why community colleges are essential.
 
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Why Congress Has Eliminated Community College Support for Convicted Criminals

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Why Congress Has Eliminated Community College Support for Convicted Criminals
Learn about how some convicted criminals abused community colleges' financial aid programs and why Congress has decided to prohibit criminals from being eligible for future aid.

While many community colleges have educational incentives to provide reform for convicted criminals, some political leaders are taking an opposing stance.  According to recent reports from the San Francisco Chronicle, “Some of the nation's worst sex offenders will no longer be eligible to receive generous educational financial aid packages while they are confined in treatment centers under a bill approved by Congress.”

 
As political leaders and college presidents strive to balance their budgets amidst a struggling economy, one of the first programs to be eliminated is the financial aid and grants that were available for individuals guilty of serious crimes.
 
This TEDTalk looks at the issue of prisoner education.
 
Fighting for Reform
 
In exploring the recent amendments denying convicted criminals of free tuition and grants, one must first understand how these free college opportunities were even initially created.  In truth, allowing convicted criminals to gain access to free publically funded courses was a mere oversight in a much larger educational overhaul.  As The Hoya, Georgetown University’s central newspaper, explains, the House of Representatives passed a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act in 2008.  This act was reinstated in order to provide individuals with enhanced financial aid benefits, and the act allowed individuals to access aid with fewer obstacles and hassles.  As a result of this bill, students were able to apply for and receive federally funded student aid Pell Grants throughout the entire year.
 
Unfortunately, while most students found the Higher Education Act to be highly beneficial,
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North Carolina Community Colleges: Pioneering Increased Enrollment and Early Graduation Rates

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North Carolina Community Colleges: Pioneering Increased Enrollment and Early Graduation Rates
Learn about how North Carolina's community colleges have created innovative programs that not only increase student enrollment, but give high school students an opportunity to attend courses on campus tuition-free.
Community college presents students with an array of benefits, ranging from dramatic savings in tuition costs to being prepared for recession-proof careers. However, North Carolina has taken its community colleges to the next level, pioneering innovative programs that increase student enrollment and improve graduation rates. Through its 58 different community college campuses, North Carolina has won several accolades for its accomplishments, including helping students graduate early to enter into the job market, as well as allowing high school students to attend college tuition-free. 
 
High School Students in North Carolina's Community Colleges

According to “Diverse Issues in Higher Education,” students in select areas of North Carolina, such as in the city of Sanford, may be eligible to earn free college credits while still in high school.
 
Created in 2007, eligible students can apply for the “Lee Early College” program (LEC). By engaging in LEC, high school students attend courses at the nearby Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) campus. Inspired in part by former Governor Easley’s educational agenda, “It’s part of Gov. Mike Easley’s Learn and Earn Early College High School educational initiative in which students graduate in five years with both a diploma and an associate degree, with all credits transferable if they choose to enroll at a four-year institution as a junior post-graduation.”
 
This video describes the Lee Early College program.
 
 
In the first year of its inception, 73 students were able to take advantage of completely
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