Show Us The Money

Community colleges get lots of love from politicians these days. But although members of Congress like to be seen at community college graduations, the sector’s leaders will need to lobby hard for the latest White House-proposed funding boost to become a reality.

The Obama administration last week included $5 billion for “facilities modernization needs” at community and tribal colleges as part of a $447 billion job growth plan, which also includes $25 billion in K-12 facilities funding. While the president promised to cover the plan’s cost with budget cuts, new federal spending proposals face fierce resistance from Congressional Republicans and a good chunk of the general public.

“Common sense tells us that putting the federal government in the business of school construction will only lead to higher costs and more regulations,” Representative John Kline, a Minnesota Republican who chairs the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, said in a written statement.

Other potential windfalls for community colleges from the Obama administration, like the $12 billion American Graduation Initiative and some funds that didn’t survive early drafts of the 2009 stimulus legislation, have either withered or died completely. But community college officials say they will mount an aggressive push this time around, perhaps more so than with past White House initiatives.

“There’s going to be real grassroots support to get this enacted,” says David S. Baime, senior vice president of government relations and research at the American Association of Community Colleges. He says community college presidents know that “in order to secure resources, you have to have a very loud voice.”

With improved facilities, Baime says community colleges could serve more students, which would help President Obama make progress on his ambitious college completion goals. Read more >>

Via Inside Higher Ed.

Posted in Community College (13-14), Funding. Tags: , . Comments Off on Show Us The Money

Study Finds Academic ‘Coaching’ Boosts Graduation Rates

A Stanford University School of Education study being released today suggests that undergraduates who receive executive-style “coaching” — including guidance on setting goals and time management — are more likely to remain in college and graduate.

A Stanford professor, Eric Bettinger, and a doctoral student, Rachel Baker, reviewed the academic records of more than 13,500 undergraduates at eight colleges and universities during the 2003-4 school year, and again in 2007-8.

The researchers calculated a 10-percent to 15-percent increase in retention rates among those who had received coaching and mentoring — a finding of no small import at a moment when hundreds of thousands of students are dropping out before graduation, or taking upward of six years to complete their degrees.

For those readers of The Choice bound for college next fall, I believe the results underscore the importance of seeking out mentors early, not only among the staff of deans and counselors, but upperclassmen, too.

“The results are clear: coaching had a clear impact on retention and completion rates,” Professor Bettinger said in a statement released with the report. “And not only does coaching improve the likelihood students will remain in college, but expenditures on coaching are much smaller than the costs of other methods to encourage persistence in college.”

The data for the study was provided by InsideTrack, a company that has been a pioneer in providing students with such counseling, including at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., which was the subject of a feature article in USA Today in 2005.

Via Jacques Steinberg, New York Times.

Posted in Data/Research, Postsecondary (13-18), Students. Tags: , , , , . Comments Off on Study Finds Academic ‘Coaching’ Boosts Graduation Rates