5 ways to improve support for part-time students

Although community colleges have started to enroll more economically-disadvantaged students, those students are not graduating at rates comparable to their peers, according to an EAB whitepaper, Reframing the Question of Equity. What’s worse, they drop out and retain debt.

Community college students are increasingly diverse, and traditionally underrepresented student populations have increased. Gaps in college access and enrollment have started to shrink. But while underrepresented minorities are more likely to attend community colleges than their white peers, too few of them graduate, leaving gaping degree attainment gaps.

Many students now enrolling in community colleges are low-income and first-generation students–with those two risk factors, they are four times more likely to drop out after their first year.…Read More

9 ways community colleges have embraced innovation

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 community college innovation and technology.

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

Could “learning communities” hold the key to part-time student retention?

Only 37 percent of students who attend college part time earn a degree within six years, the nonprofit Center for American Progress (CAP) says. While student retention is a big issue for all colleges and universities, it’s especially challenging for community colleges, where three out of four students are enrolled part time. But an innovative approach taken by Bunker Hill Community College in Boston could encourage more part-time students to stay in school and finish their degree.

In the past, many student-retention efforts have focused on encouraging part-time students to take more credit hours per semester, so they can graduate sooner. But that’s not often possible for part-time students, many of whom have full-time jobs or other impediments to their education.

Bunker Hill Community College believes it has found an affordable way to improve part-time student retention by providing some important elements of a traditional college experience to students who often don’t get these, according to a CAP report. The college is doing this by extending its “learning community” model to part-time as well as full-time students.…Read More

5 ways to support part-time community college students

Improving part-time community college students’ academic performance may play a key role in closing higher-ed equity gaps, according to new research.

In a number of surveys administered by EAB, equity has emerged as a top concern, and college presidents consistently rank closing the achievement gap in critical populations as among their top three greatest concerns.

Although community colleges have started to enroll more economically-disadvantaged students, those students are not graduating at rates comparable to their peers, according to Reframing the Question of Equity, an EAB whitepaper. What’s worse, they drop out and retain debt.…Read More

First-of-its-kind gene editing curriculum emerges at community college

A $1 million NSF grant has paved the way for what may be the first-ever community college to include gene editing curriculum technology.

In partnership with Christiana Care’s Gene Editing Institute, Delaware Technical Community College (Del Tech) has developed a unique curriculum that will include gene editing in two courses in the biological sciences program.

As part of the NSF grant, Del Tech also will hold a series of workshops to teach gene editing techniques to community college faculty across the U.S. The workshops will help faculty develop their own gene editing curriculum.…Read More

3 ways to actually support nontraditional learners

Nearly 60 percent of today’s U.S. undergraduate students are nontraditional learners, according to new research–and institutions can follow a few key steps to support these learners.

Nontraditional students, as noted in the report, are students who are 25 or older, working full-time, are financially independent, or are connected with the military. These students include single parents, immigrants, veterans, and those working full-time jobs.

The Post-traditional Learners Manifesto Revisited: Aligning Postsecondary Education with Real Life for Adult Student Success, from the American Council on Education (ACE), notes that more than 1 million Americans could get out of poverty if everyone in the U.S. 25 years or older, with some college but no degree, earned an associate degree.…Read More

5 key steps in developing a system for digital credentials

A new field guide for community college and university leaders outlines five key strategies to help institutions develop a system for digital credentials.

The guide, “Partnering with Employers to Create Workforce-Relevant Credentials,” is intended to steer faculty and administrators through a collaborative design and implementation process for developing a workforce-relevant credentialing system.

The five digital-credential strategies come from best practices of institutions profiled in the report.…Read More

Obama: Community colleges central to economic recovery

Obama spoke to more than 100 community college officials at the White House.
Obama spoke to more than 100 community college officials at the White House. (Courtesy White House photographer Pete Souza)

During an Oct. 5 White House summit, Obama administration officials and community college leaders discussed ways to position two-year colleges as training hubs that could be instrumental in the country’s economic recovery. And technology, they said, would be a centerpiece to enrolling more students and boosting completion rates.

The gathering of more than 100 community college decision makers from across the country was 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.

The Community College Summit was held a day after President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board announced its Skills for America’s Future program, which aims to connect businesses with community colleges to help better match workers with jobs during the economic recovery and beyond.…Read More

For-profit colleges find new market niche

The for-profit online institution Kaplan University has an offer for California community college students who cannot get a seat in a class they need, reports the New York Times: Under a memorandum of understanding with the chancellor of the community college system, they can take the online version at Kaplan, with a 42-percent tuition discount. The opportunity would not come cheap, however; Kaplan charges $216 a credit with the discount, compared with $26 a credit at California’s community colleges. Supporters of for-profit education say the offer underscores how Kaplan and other profit-making colleges can help accommodate the mushrooming demand for higher education. At the same time, government officials have become increasingly concerned that students at for-profit colleges are far more likely than those at public institutions to take out large loans—and default on them. For better or worse, the tough times for public colleges nationwide have presented for-profit colleges with a promising marketing opportunity. “We thought, in light of the budget crisis and the number of community college classes which are being canceled, if we have that same class here, we would give students the opportunity to take it at Kaplan,” said Greg F. Marino, president of Kaplan University Group, a profit-making business owned by the Washington Post Company…

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