Trends and Current Issues

Get information on the latest trends and issues affecting community colleges today. Explore the impact of community colleges on the global economy, get information on how community colleges have changed over the years, and see how the latest technologies are being employed on campus.
View the most popular articles in Trends and Current Issues:
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5 Important Trends in Community Colleges
We look at some of the most important trends in community colleges as they work to redefine their place in the world of higher education.
Community colleges are a vital part of the world of higher education in the United States. With a long and illustrious history, these institutions have seen more than their share of trends over the decades. Check out these important trends in community colleges as they redefine their place in tertiary education.
 
More High School Students Taking Community College Classes
 
High school students interested in getting a head start on higher education are discovering the benefits in dual enrollment in community college classes while still in high school. The Wall Street Journal calls these head start programs a low-cost way for students to gain college credits, which makes it that much easier for them to attain a two or four-year college degree in the future. Community colleges are also now partnering with local high schools to provide remedial education that prepares them for college-level work prior to high school graduation.
 
More Traditional Students on Community College Campuses
 
The New York Times has reported an increase in high school graduates attending community college right after high school, with the intention of obtaining a four-year degree through a transfer program. With a sluggish economy and much focus on the extent of student debt today, community colleges are now seen as a viable and cost-effective alternative to getting a start in the world of higher education. As younger students begin to permeate community college campuses, the demographics and overall environment of community colleges may be changing as well.
 
Additional Campus Housing
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7 Problems with Community Colleges  And What Can be Done about Them
We examine a recent report by the 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, which cited many of the problems these schools still face and what can be done to improve the experience for students.
The latest report from the American Association of Community Colleges “tells it like it is,” calling the American Dream imperiled and asking two-year colleges across the country to raise the bar on higher education standards. While the new report does offer some positive feedback on the current condition of community colleges in terms of growth and success, it also provides feedback on where schools are lacking and what can be done to bring these institutions to the place where they can serve students and the business community most effectively.  There are seven problems and seven solutions, providing a blueprint colleges can use to improve the quality of education and professional training across the board.
 

Shifting the Focus

The Chronicle of Higher Education explains that this report, titled, “Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future,” is the culmination of several months of research by a 38-member community. Those involved in the report include college presidents, education-policy experts and leaders of non-profit groups.

“This is a brutally honest report,” Walter Bumphus, president of the American Association of Community Colleges, told the Chronicle. “For years we have been focused on access, and now we need to turn our attention equally to student access. It takes courage to say we can do better.”
 
The report offers a new perspective to the condition of community colleges, beyond their commitment to an open-admission policy and providing access to students who are typically underserved. Once the students are enrolled in the school, their success
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Community Colleges Leading the Pack in Digital Technology
Calling all tech-lovers! A new survey by Republic’s Center for Digital Education and Converge Online has ranked the community colleges that most effectively integrate digital technology into daily campus life.
As community colleges grapple with large student populations and fewer resources, technology has become one solution for meeting the needs of more students for less money. Schools that adeptly integrate technology into daily campus life can accommodate a wide range of student schedules, without adding more manpower to handle the job. The Center for Digital Education and Converge Online recently recognized some of the community colleges across the country that are making the best use of technology to enhance the education experience. These schools topped the list of the Digital Community Colleges Survey as some of the most technically savvy schools in the nation.
 

About the Survey

The recent survey by the Center for Digital Education and Converge Online took a number of factors into consideration as they were determining the top community colleges for technology usage, including:

  • Integration of technology into campus life and course curriculum
  • Documentation of online admissions processes
  • Sufficient technology training for both faculty members and students
  • Efficient use of Web 2.0 social functions
  • Ability to accommodate distance education
  • Ample online services for students, including tutoring and advising services
  • Ability to utilize campus security alerts through technology
With a number of factors considered, it becomes apparent that those community colleges that made the grade in this current survey find ways to integrate digital technology into every facet of daily campus life.
 
“As community college enrollments continue to increase, school leaders are incorporating new technologies to enhance student services and improve course curriculum,” Cathilea Robinett, executive vice president for the Center for Digital Education, stated
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Going Mobile: Apps Available at Community Colleges
Community college students: there's an app for that! Enjoy a sampling of the interesting mobile apps that are coming from community colleges.
Mobile apps are providing information on the go for a host of subjects today. Now, community colleges are getting in on the technology action, with their very own apps designed just for their students and faculty. Whether you are looking for information about extracurricular activities available on campus or where to go for financial aid assistance, these apps are ready to get you the information you need in a flash – no matter where you might be. Check out how some community colleges across the country are using the latest technology craze to make campus life easier for their student body.
 
Two Mobile Apps Available to Montgomery County Community College Students
 
Montgomery County Community College students now have their campus in the palms of their hands – quite literally – with two new mobile apps available. According to a report at the Upper Moreland-Willow Grove Patch, the school now features MOX, an application by Datatel’s Mobile Access that offers a wealth of information about the college. The app includes general information about both the Blue Bell and Pottstown campuses, including current campus events, contact information for school administrators, class schedules and locations, and even overdue library books. The app is linked into the campus portal, allowing users to sign in with their usual MC3 user name and password. Information from the portal that is also included on the app gives students access to important information from anywhere on campus. Currently, Montgomery County is the only college in
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Going to School with Mom: The New Community College Trend
Learn about why more students are attending community college classes with their parents.
Many teenagers look forward to finishing high school and beginning college as the time when they can finally escape their parents. But for an increasing number of American families, the start of a teenager’s college career is coinciding with a parent’s return to the classroom. For these families, attending college becomes a multi-generational affair.  

While some teenagers might cringe at the idea of being in a class alongside a parent, others are finding that sharing the experience of community college with Mom or Dad provides unexpected benefits alongside its inevitable challenges.
 
Why Parents and Children are Increasingly Attending Community College Together
 
A recent Chicago Tribune article notes that the increase in parents and students who are sharing the same community college campus is a result of two social forces:
 
  1. The recession is driving many working adults to return to school to pursue a new degree.  According to the Tribune, Illinois’s Harper Community College has seen the population of adult students jump by 17.5 percent this semester from spring 2009.
  2. Tighter family budgets are causing more high school graduates to start taking courses at more affordable community colleges rather than going immediately to a more expensive four-year college or university.
 
The Benefits of Parents Becoming Students Themselves
 
Parents who attend community college along with their adolescent children often find unexpected benefits.
  • Practical Benefits - Parents and children may be able to carpool on their way to school, and 19- and 20-year-old community college students often find that being able to meet Mom between
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Trends and Current Issues