Ed Department: Half of community college students need remedial classes


ED introduced the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grants Program on Jan. 20, inviting community colleges—and other two-year degree-granting institutions—to apply for up to $5 million per institution, or up to $20 million to applicants who apply for funds in a consortium of schools.

ED will dole out about $500 million in 2011, and $2 billion will be distributed in the next four years overall, according to the announcement.

“These funds will support programs that use proven or innovative strategies to prepare students for high-demand careers,” Biden said.

The Obama administration in October invited more than 100 community college decision makers to the White House’s first-ever Summit on Community Colleges, where top federal officials lauded two-year colleges as a bridge to jobs and four-year universities, and a way to lead the world in college graduates by 2020.

Education analysts said last year that the expansion of online classes at two-year colleges would be key in increasing community college enrollment.

Distance-learning enrollment in American community colleges jumped by 22 percent during the 2008-09 academic year, an increase fueled in part by an influx of nontraditional students who require the flexibility of online courses, according to a survey conducted by the Instructional Technology Council (ITC).

The ITC, which is affiliated with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), collected 226 responses from community colleges in its annual survey, “Trends in eLearning: Tracking the Impact of eLearning at Community Colleges,” which revealed the 2008-09 increase in online enrollment. Last year’s ITC survey reported an 11-percent uptick in web-based class enrollment at community colleges.

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