Including Nontraditional Pathways Increases Completion Rates

A report by the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) Research Center highlights the need to change the way completion rates are calculated.

By ignoring students’ increasingly diverse paths to graduation, the report, many completion studies “don’t fit reality” and thus significantly underreport completion rates, according to Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates. It adds that taking nontraditional pathways into account dramatically drives up the U.S. college completion rate, from 42 percent to 54 percent.

Not a straight path

Among all students who started at a public two-year institution, 36 percent received a degree or certificate within six years, with 12 percent earning a degree at a different institution, the report says.

According to NSC, today’s students are much more likely to follow a diverse educational pathway, with many transferring schools before they graduate, enrolling part time or switching between part-time and full-time status. As a result, it’s no longer useful for completion studies to focus only on first-time, full-time students who graduate from the same institution where they started.

“Capturing students’ completions beyond their starting institution will sizably increase total completion rates observed nationally,” the report states. (Read more and find out key areas of the report.)

Via Times Staff, Community College Staff.

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Record Number Complete High School and College

Although the United States no longer leads the world in educational attainment, record numbers of young Americans are completing high school, going to college and finishing college, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly available census data.

This year, for the first time, a third of the nation’s 25- to 29-year-olds have earned at least a bachelor’s degree. That share has been slowly edging up for decades, from fewer than one-fifth of young adults in the early 1970s to 33 percent this year.

The share of high school graduates in that age group, along with the share of those with some college, have also reached record levels. This year, 90 percent were high school graduates, up from 78 percent in 1971. And 63 percent have completed some college work, up from 34 percent in 1971.

The study attributed the increase both to the recession and a sluggish jobs recovery, which led many young people to see higher education as their best option, and to changed attitudes about the importance of a college education. In a 2010 Gallup survey, about three-quarters of Americans agreed that a college education is very important, up from only 36 percent in 1978.

The wage premium for those with college degrees has leapt 40 percent since 1983, according to Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

“The demand for college graduates has been increasing about 3 percent a year, while the supply has increased only 1 percent a year, which is why the college wage premium has increased so precipitously,” he said.

The United States was the undisputed global leader in educational attainment until 1992. But more recently, some European countries have been producing degree-holders at a higher rate — and a faster-growing rate. (Read more.)

Via Tamar Lewin, The New York Times.

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Web-Based Tool Aims to Ease the Transfer Process

The California Community Colleges (CCC) and the California State University (CSU) have launched a new website that provides comprehensive information about the new Associate Degree for Transfer pathway that lets students earn an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree, with no wasted units.

The key features of the ADegreeWithAGuarantee.com include:

  • Complete details on how the new transfer pathway works
  • Up-to-date information about the transfer majors available at CCC campuses that are matched to similar BA degrees at CSU campuses
  • Interactive maps that help students find a campus
  • Application information
  • A degree progress checklist
  • Testimonials from students who have earned an Associate Degree for Transfer and have successfully transferred to a CSU campus

The California Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act, which became law in 2010, requires the CCC and CSU to collaborate on the creation of the Associate Degree to Transfer initiative. Upon earning the degree, students will be guaranteed admission to a CSU campus with junior standing. While not guaranteed admission to their campus of choice, students will be given priority consideration for admission to a CSU campus that offers a program that has been designated as “similar” by CSU. Once enrolled at CSU, students will be able to complete a bachelor’s degree with no more than 60 additional units.

Via Times Staff, Community College Staff.

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The Nursing Profession

Community College Times recently posted this article on nursing:

Aligned on Academic Progress For Nurses

In a move to support all nurses moving to advance their education, leaders from national organizations representing community college presidents, boards and program administrators have joined with representatives from nursing education associations to endorse a joint statement on nursing education.

The statement represents a shared goal of preparing a well-educated, diverse nursing workforce, and that nursing students and practicing nurses should be supported in their efforts to pursue higher levels of education. Endorsing organizations include the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), theAssociation of Community Colleges Trustees, the National League for Nursing and the National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing.

“For the nation and the communities we serve, there can be no larger imperative than to ensure the health and well being of our citizens,” AACC President Walter Bumphus said in a press release. “Such a goal is at the heart of the work community colleges do in preparing close to half of all new nurses, and it is central to our support for this new collaboration to support educational progression.”  (Via Times Staff, Community College Times.)

Click here to read the joint statement on academic progression for nursing students and graduates.

Next, turn your attention to a commentary on Nursing by Donna Meyer who is president of the National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing,  dean of health sciences and project director of the Lewis and Clark Family Health Clinic at Lewis and Clark Community College in Illinois.

Moving Forward on The Nursing Credential Debate

Associate degree nursing programs across this country have produced highly qualified graduates over the past 50 years. Community college nursing graduates have provided exceptional nursing care to people of this country. Many of the graduates have continued their education and had careers in nursing education, nursing administration, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists and many other career paths, including a community college president.

The National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (N-OADN), an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges that is the leading advocate for associate degree nursing, promotes academic progression of associate degree in nursing (ADN) graduates in furthering education to reach their maximum professional potential. N-OADN supports the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report which states “nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training.”

As the largest and most trusted healthcare profession, it is imperative that nurses unite at this most crucial time in meeting the healthcare needs of this country. N-OADN commends the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Center to Champion Nursing in America, an initiative of AARP, for bringing all levels of nursing education and nursing practice in collaboration through the state health care coalitions.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

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Where You’re 18 Times More Likely to Find a Job

Having a college degree can give you a leg up on those with only a high school diploma, but just how much of an advantage depends on where you go.

Some of the widest gaps between job openings for workers who have college educations and those who don’t are in central California, according to a new report by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

In the Bakersfield, Calif., metro area, there were 18 times the number of job openings for college grads versus those with high school diplomas or less in 2010.

One of the main problems there is that the residents have little education so they don’t have many opportunities. Most of the jobs are in agriculture or oil production.

“A high school degree is no longer going to cut it,” said Richard Chapman, head of the development organization, noting that companies are looking for skilled workers. “The worst thing is to have a job opening and no one to fill it.”

The Brookings report analyzed the educational requirements for new jobs in the nation’s 100 largest metro areas. It found that places with a greater concentration of college graduates have better job prospects for both those with degrees and those who just finished high school. (Read more.)

Via Tami Luhby @CNNMoney.

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