Community Colleges

Leading the Charge for Change

Community college leaders speak out

Leaders from 16 community colleges around the country gathered at the White House in September to participate in a roundtable discussion on the role community colleges play in America. The discussion was part of the Obama administration’s Champions of Change program, a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping to meet the many challenges of the 21st century. Education Gateways recently spoke to four of the Champions of Change honorees about the challenges and opportunities they face as presidents of their institutions.

Helping Students Access Financial Aid

At one time, each of Connecticut’s 12 community colleges ran its own financial aid office by its own rules. Ten years later, the Connecticut Community College System has doubled the number of students. Now all 12 colleges use FAFSA alone to determine eligibility. All use the same “satisfactory academic progress” requirement for students who receive aid and those who don’t. Simplifying eligibility rules and centralizing some functions freed financial aid staffers to focus on helping students instead of pushing paper, Marc Herzog, the former chancellor, told the College Board.

When Employed Students Stumble

Community college students who hold jobs are less likely to finish school. What are institutions doing to increase degree completion?

Working one’s way through college is the norm for community college students: 85 percent work part- or full-time. With an average tuition bill of $2,713 a year, only 13 percent turn to student loans.

But long work hours have a high cost, concludes a 2011 report by the College Board’s Advocacy & Policy Center. Only 21 percent of first-time, full-time community college students complete a degree or certificate in three years. The six-year completion or transfer rate is 31 percent. Part-timers, who make up 59 percent of enrollment, do even worse.

Point of Pride

As we get ready to start the third year of our Models of Efficiency program, I want to take a moment to point with pride to the program’s success. Models of Efficiency is a national recognition program for those campus departments that have found ways to streamline operations, save money, and improve constituent satisfaction. That was the challenge we set forth when Models of Efficiency was first announced, and those solutions are just as important, if not more so, today.

Ann McClure's picture

Community Colleges Dispute Call For Overhaul

Presidents deny need for governing board

Read more »

Ann McClure's picture

Community Colleges Faulted On Health Studies

Flaws make career training difficult, report says

Read more »

Ann McClure's picture

L.A. Community College District To Fire A Third Contractor

Los Angeles Community College District is cracking down after a Los Angeles Times series found millions of dollars in waste and abuse in the district's $5.7-billion, bond-financed construction program.

Read more »

Ann McClure's picture

After 20 Years in Partnership, an Educational Combo Is Getting a Messy Divorce

This weekend, along the border’s southern tip, homecoming at the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College will be bittersweet for many. It will be one of the last, at least for the unique partnership between a community college and an upper-division university that operated as one institution for 20 years.

Read more »

Ann McClure's picture

Delgado's Enrollment Going Up While Budget Is Going Down

Whoever succeeds Ron Wright as chancellor of Delgado Community College will assume command of a school where enrollment is booming while the budget is shrinking. Delgado, the biggest local institution of higher education, enrolled 20,452 students at its nine sites this semester, a 55 percent jump compared with the total five years ago. Meanwhile, the state's per-student allotment for full-time Delgado students dropped by about 43 percent during the same period.

Read more »

Pages