More California Latinos Are College Grads

More California Latinos are graduating from college, according to a state profile by Excelencia in Education. The number of Latinos earning undergraduate degrees grew by 13 percent in the state between 2006 and 2008, while other groups saw an 8 percent increase.

However, the college gap is large: Only 16 percent of Latino adults are college graduates, compared to 39 percent of all working-age adults in the state.

Some 75 percent of Latino college students are enrolled in community colleges, which have low graduation rates. Looking just at first-time, full-time college students, the Latino completion rate is 35 percent, compared to 47 percent for similar white students, the profile found.

Several pilot programs are boosting Latino success rates, Excelencia notes.

The group suggests that California policy makers focus on closing the gap through programs that provide institutional support for community-college students transferring to four-year institutions, like the University of California’s Puente Project, or peer and faculty mentoring, such as California State Polytechnic University’s Science Educational Enhancement Services.

Excelencia’s state profiles are funded by the Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation for Educationand the Kresge Foundation.

“A combination of low college enrollment coupled with low college completion rates spells disaster for Latinos and the California economy precisely at a time when we are predicted to face a shortage of one million more college graduates by 2025,” said Michele Siqueiros, executive director of Campaign for College Opportunity, in response to the Excelencia report. Read more>>

Via Joanne Jacobs, Community College Spotlight.

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New Students Need Orientation

Orientation is critical for new community college students, said Arlene Arnsparger of the Center for Community College Survey for Student Engagement at the American Association of Community Colleges board of directors’ retreat in Washington, D.C. From Community College Times:

CCCSE data and focus groups show that recent high school graduates attending a two-year college often have difficulties in navigating the college system, from enrolling and registering for appropriate classes, to learning about available student aid.

“This is a new country to them when they come through our doors,” Arnsparger said.

Fewer than half of recent high school graduates participate in student orientation. As a result, many do not meet with an adviser. Orientation should be mandatory, Arnsparger argued.

However, students complain that advisers aren’t helpful, Arnsparger said.

Too often, the meetings focus on selecting individual courses to fulfill graduation requirements rather than on long-term goals such as career aspirations and pathways and short-term needs, such as time-management skills.

College leaders at the retreat how to strengthen advising and encourage students to reach out for help.

Via Joanne Jacobs, Community College Spotlight.

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Two New Reports by The National Center for Postsecondary Research

Breaking New Ground: An Impact Study of Career-Focused Learning Communities at Kingsborough Community College by Mary G. Visher and Jedediah Teres, with Pheobe Richman

The low completion rates of students in community colleges have been well documented. Among students who enroll in community colleges hoping to earn a credential or transfer to a four-year institution, only about half achieve this goal within six years. Many factors contribute to these low success rates, including lack of financial support, lack of motivation and direction, competing demands from family and jobs, and inadequate college-readiness skills. In an effort to address some of those barriers and to increase the number of students who achieve their education and career goals, community colleges are turning increasingly to learning communities — in which cohorts of students are coenrolled in two or sometimes three courses that are linked by a common theme and are taught by a team of instructors who collaborate with each other around the syllabi and assignments.

Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, New York, is a leader in the learning community movement. The college, which has run learning communities for many years and has a long history of implementing innovative programs for its students, is one of six colleges participating in the National Center for Postsecondary Research’s Learning Communities Demonstration, in which random assignment evaluations are being used to determine the impacts of learning communities on students’ academic achievement. This report presents findings from an evaluation of Kingsborough’s unique Career-Focused Learning Communities program, the latest iteration in a series of learning community models designed and implemented by the college. It consisted of two courses required for a specific major and a third course called the “integrative seminar” that was designed to reinforce the learning in the two other courses and to expose students to information about careers in their selected major.

Download the Full Report or the Executive Summary.


Does Remediation Work for All Students? How the Effects of Postsecondary Remedial and Developmental Courses Vary by Level of Academic Preparation (An NCPR Brief) by Angela Boatman and Bridget Terry Long

This Brief summarizes an NCPR Working Paper of the same title that addresses the impact of remedial and developmental courses on students with a range of levels of preparedness. Using a regression discontinuity (RD) research design, the study provides causal estimates of the effects of placement on a number of short-, medium-, and long-term student outcomes, including persistence, degree completion, and the number of total and college-level credits completed. Results of the study suggest that remedial and developmental courses do differ in their impact by level of student preparation.

Download the Brief or the Working Paper.

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The College Payoff: Education, Occupations, Lifetime Earnings

As millions of students prepare to return to college, a new study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce confirms that the value of college degrees is increasing. Experts from Georgetown and Lumina Foundation say that postsecondary education has become the new gateway to the middle class and one of the most important economic issues of our time.

According to the study, individuals with a bachelor’s degree now make 84 percent more over a lifetime than those with only a high school diploma, up from 75 percent in 1999. Today, bachelor’s degree holders can expect median lifetime earnings approaching $2.3 million. By comparison, workers with just a high school diploma average roughly $1.3 million, which translates into a little more than $15 per hour.

“On average, people with more education and higher attainment make more than people with less education,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, the Center’s director and co-author of the report.  “But, major and occupation matter just as much as degree level. For example, 28 percent of people with an Associate’s degree make at least as much as the average Bachelor’s degree holder— mostly due to occupational choice.”

The release of the report comes as some experts are asking if the rising cost of college has created a higher education bubble. But, in addition to creating opportunities for significantly greater individual earning power, increased college attainment is also quickly becoming one of the key drivers for our nation’s economy.

“The vast majority of new jobs require higher skills and if you don’t have a college degree, your chances of being in the middle class are visibly diminished,” said Jamie P. Merisotis, president and chief executive officer of Lumina. “There is a high probability that you’ll be poor without some form of postsecondary education and that makes education one of the most critical factors in our nation’s long-term economic growth plans. A dramatic increase in educational attainment must become a top national priority if we intend to build our labor pool and beat out other countries for the jobs of the future.”

In a separate study, the Center at Georgetown estimated that by 2018, 63 percent of U.S. jobs will require some form of postsecondary education or training. Unfortunately, we are woefully unprepared for this reality as a nation. Today, approximately 41 percent of adults have a college degree in America.

Read more of the Press Release.
Read the Executive Summary.
Read the Full Report.


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The New Adult Ed: Basic Skills Plus Job Skills

Jobs for the Future‘s Accelerating Opportunity has awarded grants to 11 states to transform adult education by integrating basic skills and job training.

Over 26 million adults lack a high school diploma, but less than 10 percent are enrolled in adult basic education programs. Many who try adult ed quit after a semester or two without earning any credential.

“The number of adults without skills and credentials beyond high school is a national crisis threatening our economic recovery,” says Marlene B. Seltzer, president of JFF. “At the same time, employers are having difficulty finding qualified workers to fill skilled positions that command a higher salary.”

Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, and Wisconsin will receive $200,000 grants to support the redesign effort. In the second phase, five states will receive implementation grants of $1.6 million.

The initiative, which will involve nearly 40 community colleges and 18,000 adult learners,  builds on JFF’s Breaking Through, as well as Washington State’s I-BEST program.

Funders include the Gates Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations. The National Council on Workforce Education, National College Transition Network, and the Washington State Board of Community & Technical Colleges will partner with JFF on the project.

Via Joanne Jacobs, Community College Spotlight


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