Some Community Colleges Are Prioritizing Enrollment

Community colleges have long stressed the open-door concept, but budgetary pressures—along with the need to better manage enrollment growth and ensure students are on a path to completion—have forced some colleges to put limits on access.

California is expected to set a statewide policy on enrollment priorities for the first time for all community colleges, which would reward students who make progress.

The new rules, to be submitted to theCalifornia Community Colleges Board of Governors in September, are based onrecommendations by the California Community Colleges Student Success Task Force. If approved, the new rules would take effect in fall 2014.

“This would be a big change for the system,” said Paul Feist, vice chancellor of the California Community Colleges system.

Rewarding Success

The enrollment priorities would “encourage successful student behavior” by giving priority to:

  • continuing students in good standing who are making progress toward a certificate, degree, transfer or career advancement objective
  • first-time students who participate in orientation and assessment and develop an informed education plan
  • students who begin addressing any basic skills deficiencies in their first year

Students would lose enrollment priority if they fail to follow their education plan, are placed on academic probation for two consecutive terms, fail to declare a program of study by the end of their third term or accrue 100 units (not including basic skills and English as a second language courses). <Read more.>

Via Ellie Ashford, Community College Times.

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State Governing Board Over Community Colleges Rethinks Enrollment Methods

The way students register for classes at California community colleges is being examined for potential changes by a statewide governing board.

Jasmin Kissinger, 21, sat waiting for an appointment in the counseling office at Sierra College in Rocklin Tuesday. The Grass Valley native is taking classes at Sierra to work her way up to a master’s in speech therapy.

Now that Kissinger has some classes under her belt, registering every semester has gotten easier, but it hasn’t always been that way. Priority is currently given to students with more units under their belt than freshmen and some underclassmen.

“It was really difficult getting into classes at first because I was low priority and things filled up really quickly,” Kissinger said.

That might change if the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges decides to approve changes to the rules it is considering regarding when certain students can and can’t register for classes. The idea to change the way community colleges approach enrollment priority is one of many suggestions made by the Student Success Taskforce last January.

The community college panel met Tuesday to hear the first reading of the proposed rule change, opening a comment period on the proposed changes that lasts until Aug. 17. The panel will hear a second reading of the rule and potentially vote on it at its meeting in September.

According to a summary of the proposed rule change, students who already get top priority when it comes to registering for classes will not be affected if the changes pass. Students who are in the military, are veterans, or foster youth or former foster youth fall under this priority and will still get to register first. (Read more.)

Via Amber Marra, Journal Staff Writer, Auburn, California.

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For Some Community College Classes, You Get Only One Shot

In an ongoing effort to tighten their financial belts, California Community College officials continue to limit the number of times students can take courses.

On Monday, the Board of Governors voted to approve a new set of rules that will prevent students from repeating “activity” courses, such as dance, art or music. The rule will go into effect in fall 2013.

Already, students will no longer be able to repeat academic classes indefinitely, like they used to. They will only be able to take required courses, such as English 1A, three times. Most importantly, dropping the course midway to receive a “W” rather than a bad grade — something students do to prevent their grade point average from dropping — will now be counted as a “repeat.”

“If we had to enforce it in the current list, I’d say a good 15 percent of our students would be affected,” said Mary Dominguez, vice president of student services at Hartnell College in Salinas. “This is a new ball game for everybody. It’s a huge regulation.”

Currently, students are allowed to take activity courses up to four times. The new rules will allow no repeats, unless classes are needed for a certificate, a degree or to transfer to a four-year university.

Community colleges will have the option to create a “community service class” that would be supported by fees.

Carsbia Anderson, vice president of student services at Monterey Peninsula College, said officials are not contemplating starting fee-based courses, but are thinking about developing curriculum that would address different levels of achievement in activity classes. (Read more.)

Via Claudia Melendez Salinas, Monterey County Herald.

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Student Success Task Force Implementation

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Electronic Mapping Helps Colleges Target Campaigns

Community colleges increasingly are turning to electronic mapping to reach targeted audiences for a variety of purposes, including enrollment, fundraising, fee-related initiatives and marketing.

With mapping systems, colleges can leverage information they routinely collect when students register, and correlate that data at the neighborhood level to reveal patterns they can use to manage enrollment and conduct funding campaigns—among other initiatives.

Electronic maps are a graphical representation of underlying data, and they enable colleges to achieve their objectives by reaching a select audience, such as a particular ethnic group or level of household income.

A tool for tough times

The trend toward using mapping comes as colleges face higher expenses and dwindling resources. Rather than aiming their messaging at the wrong groups and overspending on those efforts, colleges are using mapping systems to ensure that mailings and other communications get to the people they want to reach.

“I think the bottom line here is the bottom line,” says Bob Gochicoa, president of the CareerFocus Consortium in Michigan, which provides mapping and other marketing services to colleges.

“Traditional funding models for community colleges are broken,” he says. “State and federal support have remained stagnant. Colleges that are dependent on local taxes have taken a huge hit with declining property values.”

Colleges need to develop a new type of intelligence that will allow them to compete successfully for resources coming from their local communities, Gochicoa says. (Read more.)

Via Bob Violino, Community College Times.

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