9 trends shared by innovative community colleges

Supporting mobile devices is a top priority among a majority of community colleges surveyed in the Center for Digital Education’s annual Digital Community Colleges Survey, which offers an inside look at schools’ technology and innovation priorities.

Other priorities include cybersecurity tools and testing, redesigning or upgrading websites, upgrading classroom technologies, digital content and curriculum, and disaster recovery/business continuity.

According to the survey, 34 percent of community colleges have a strategy in place for the use of mobile devices; 35 percent have a full-time chief information security officer or a similar full-time role; 71 percent of surveyed community colleges’ websites have responsive web design; and 88 percent have off-site data storage redundancies in place.…Read More

Here’s why user experience is absolutely critical to higher education’s future

Harnessing user experience is the most powerful tool higher-education institutions have to transform learning–but user-experience design is mostly foreign in higher education.

Despite its sporadic use, user-experience design is, in fact, a critical part of the future of higher education, according to ISTE CEO Richard Culatta, who expanded upon the idea during an EDUCAUSE 2017 session.

“If we look at how we can build around the needs of students, we will absolutely transform their lives, and our roles and values as institutions,” Culatta said.…Read More

#1: These are the top 10 workforce skills students will need by 2020

[Editor’s note: This story, originally published on June 20th of this year, was our #1 most popular story of the year. Happy holidays, and thank you for tuning into our 2017 countdown!]

Today’s workforce, as nearly everyone knows, is increasingly global. And with that global nature comes fierce competition–students will need an arsenal of workforce skills in order to stand out from their peers.

According to a recent McGraw-Hill Education survey, just 40 percent of college seniors said they felt their college experience was helpful in preparing for a career. Alarmingly, that percentage plummeted to 19 percent for women answering the same question.…Read More

#3: 3 big ways today’s college students are different from just a decade ago

[Editor’s note: This story, originally published on July 8th of this year, was our #3 most popular story of the year. Happy holidays, and thank you for tuning into our 2017 countdown!]

Gen Z, the digital generation, non-traditional students, and potentially many more descriptions have been used to label the current postsecondary body of students, but what may not be so evident is exactly how much their preferences, lifestyles and experiences have radically changed from even a decade ago.

And it’s these large changes that are critical for colleges and universities not just to take notice of now, but also to anticipate what students and their needs may look like in 2027.…Read More

Could this alternative to ‘free college’ work?

Increased federal support of high-quality occupational credentialing opportunities could be an alternative to a “free” four-year degree, proposes a new report from the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI).

The report finds that federal support of such programs, including the extension of federal Pell grants, could aid in closing the skills gap and offer an equally viable and debt-free path to middle-class mobility and economic security.

“The single-minded focus on college diminishes other, equally viable paths to middle-class security – such as in health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing, and other skilled professions – that require specialized occupational ‘credentials’ but no four-year degree,” writes senior fellow Anne Kim in the report.…Read More

Dual enrollment has drastic state-by-state differences

A large majority of dual enrollment students (88 percent), those who take community college courses while still enrolled in high school, continue college after high school, and most earn a degree within six years.

Studies show that high school students in dual enrollment–taking community college courses at the same time as high school courses–are more likely to graduate high school, go on to college and complete degrees than other students. But the number of dual enrollment students varies widely across the country, and their success rates are not consistent.

A new study from the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College, Columbia University and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center examines each state to gauge how many high school students are taking community college classes and how they do when they move on to college.…Read More

California students could see free community college

Full-time in-state students in California would receive free tuition for their first year of community college under a state legislature bill signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown.

According to Assembly Bill No. 19, the California College Promise would waive fees for one academic year for first-year students who are enrolled in 12 or more semester units or the equivalent at the college and complete and submit either a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or a California Dream Act application.

California now joins a growing number of states that have established statewide free community college programs. New York, Hawaii, Arkansas, Nevada, and Rhode Island have all passed similar legislation. Nationally, the College Promise movement continues to grow rapidly, with now more than 200 programs in 42 different states.…Read More

The top 50 community colleges for student financial aid

Community colleges fill an important gap in the realm of education. They cater to a broader audience, cost easily a third of what a student would pay at a four-year institution, and they offer a greater degree of flexibility.

Many students that attend community college are working or have family obligations that only allow them to go part-time. Over half of all the students enrolled at community colleges or technical schools are considered to be part-time; the structure of the curriculum allows them that freedom to maintain their lives without putting their dreams on hold.

The most important thing about community colleges, though, is the incredible affordability. The ratio of high socioeconomic status students to low socioeconomic status students at four-year universities is 14:1. Financial barriers shouldn’t stand in the way of anyone who has a desire to learn to be able to do so; and with lower costs, campuses even in rural areas, and the vast opportunities for financial aid assistance, community colleges are the first step in taking down those barriers.…Read More

Report: 7 recommendations for student success with credentials

A healthy GPA and completing more credits during the first year of college are fairly strong predictors of community college credential completion, according to a new report from Hobsons and the American Council on Education (ACE).

The report is the second in a four-part series that examines how high school graduates fare when they enroll in community college directly after high school.

“Community colleges ensure millions of students each year have access to the benefits of postsecondary education,” said Jonathan Turk, senior policy research analyst with ACE’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy and the report’s author. “However, while access is important, it holds little value if students cannot complete their education. This series of work will hopefully continue to shed light on what can be done to reduce barriers to student success for this particular student population.”…Read More

2017’s best and worst community colleges

With back-to-school season in full swing and several states, such as New York and Rhode Island, offering free community-college education starting this month, the personal-finance website WalletHub recently released its report on 2017’s Best & Worst Community Colleges, coupled with its state-by-state ranking of the Best & Worst Community-College Systems.

To determine where students can receive the best education at the cheapest rates, WalletHub’s analysts compared more than 700 community colleges across 14 key indicators of cost and quality. The data set ranges from the cost of in-state tuition and fees to student-faculty ratio to graduation rate.

“During the 2016 to 2017 academic year, tuition and fees for full-time, in-state enrollment at a public two-year college averaged $1,760 per semester versus $4,825 at a public four-year institution and $16,740 at a four-year private school,” notes WalletHub’s website. “Based on those rates, students who earn their general-education credits at a community college before transferring to an in-state public four-year university would save $12,260 over two years on tuition and fees alone.”…Read More