2009-2014

What are the Biggest Issues Facing Community Colleges Today? New Study has Answers

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What are the Biggest Issues Facing Community Colleges Today? New Study has Answers
Community colleges face many hurdles, ranging from budget constraints to increased enrollment, but a new study pinpoints some of the largest issues - which may surprise you.

The current economic slowdown, high unemployment rates and rising costs of four-year universities have sent many college students scurrying to the ivied halls of their neighborhood community colleges to begin the path of higher education. Community colleges across the country have seen record enrollment figures over recent years, as more students are turning to these institutions right out of high school and well into adulthood. However, community colleges are far from the utopia many make them out to be – in fact, these schools have their own sets of issues and hurdles they must overcome to help their students be as successful as possible. We'll take a look at a recent study that outlines eight of the biggest issues community colleges face today.

About the Study

Western Governors University, an online college that provides more than 50 degree programs across the country, recently conducted a study with The SOURCE on Community College Issues, Trends and Strategies, a new online resource for schools. The study went to a broad range of community college leaders nationwide to get their perceptions on the major hurdles in higher education at the community college level. The report found that there is a diverse outlook among community colleges as to which issues are the most prevalent in the industry. Some of the issues discussed during the study included college readiness, student services, and workforce development, according to a press release on the WGU website.

Although there was much

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Texas Community Colleges Face Severe Cuts that Could Mean Reduced Enrollment

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Texas Community Colleges Face Severe Cuts that Could Mean Reduced Enrollment
One of the largest states is facing massive budget cuts that are impacting Texas community colleges. Learn about the current predicament and what it means for Texan students.

Community colleges have traditionally been institutes of higher education, allowing anyone to attend, regardless of their academic ability or income level. Thanks to state funding, these schools were designed for both those who would struggle in four-year colleges right out of high school and those who could not afford the tuition at the local university. Community colleges were also an option for adults who needed additional training to advance in their current careers or switch over to industries with greater potential.

All of these purposes come at a cost, and until recently, community colleges – with the help of state funding – were able to pay the price. However, the recent economic slowdown, combined with a rising unemployment rate, has boosted enrollment at these schools while cutting the available money. The result has been a serious financial crunch for many community colleges across the country. In light of these recent economic difficulties, many schools are faced with challenging decisions over how best to serve their student population on a fraction of the money to which they are accustomed. This video provides an update on the financial situation facing community colleges in Texas.

Lone Star State in Dire Straits

While the entire country is feeling the economic pinch at the community college level, three states appear to be grappling with their financial reality more severely than others. Texas, California,

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First Ever National Community College Survey: The Surprising Results!

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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

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Dire in California: More than 100,000 Students Turned Away from Community Colleges and Counting

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Dire in California: More than 100,000 Students Turned Away from Community Colleges  and Counting
California community colleges are being forced to turn away tens of thousands of students, and the future does not look any brighter. Learn about the current predicament and the ramifications of the new budget.

During the current economic slowdown, more adults are heading back to community college to get the necessary retraining for more lucrative careers. High school graduates that cannot afford a four-year university right away are looking at community colleges as a less expensive route to the education they need. It sounds like community colleges are the perfect answer, right?

Unfortunately, community colleges are not the white knight that many struggling in a sluggish economy would hope. These institutions are facing diminishing financing themselves, at a time when enrollment demand for a community college education is at an all time high. Many community colleges across the country are facing the inconceivable reality of turning students away at the door because there is simply no more room in the classes to accommodate them. One of the states that has been hit hardest with the community college overload is California – and it doesn't look like there is any relief in sight.

Long Wait Lists and Less Support Available

According to a recent report at the Los Angeles Times, more than 140,000 students were turned away from community colleges in California during the last academic year. This year, the number of students who can't get into classes is predicted to be double. At Cypress College, around 6,200 students were on wait lists for courses last year, with 13,000 more waiting at Bakersfield College and as many as 80,000 in the Los Rios

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Hot Beds of Community College Enrollment Growth

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Hot Beds of Community College Enrollment Growth
Community colleges have been soaring in popularity since the recession, but some areas are seeing tremendously more growth than others. Learn about which areas are the hot beds for community college enrollment.

Community college enrollment is gaining steam across the country, thanks in part to the current administration's focus on these educational institutions. However, some community colleges are growing faster than others due to the programs they offer and other significant factors. We will look at some of the hotbeds of community college enrollment growth and the key factors impacting the sudden popularity of these institutions.

Reasons for Growth

There are many reasons why community college enrollment continues to grow at an astronomical pace around the country. According to a report in Community College Week, the biggest reason for the growth is the Great Recession of 2007, which put many adults in this country out of work and sent them back to school to get training in a more lucrative profession. It is no secret that an economic slowdown can increase college enrollment. However, the current economic conditions, due to the degree and longevity of the problems, have strained community colleges past the point of being able to adequately serve all the students coming to them for an education.

The Obama Administration has also played a role in the increase in community college student bodies. President Obama has called on this country to produce another five million college graduates by 2020 in response to news that the United States has fallen to 10th among industrialized nations in terms of educational attainment. Colleges have been scrambling to answer the call as federal funding has come

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