Posts published in March, 2011

New Study Finds Effective Practices For Community College Student Progress

A new policy brief from MDRC synthesizes findings from its Opening Doors Demonstration — the first large-scale random assignment study in a community college setting, launched in 2003. The demonstration pursued promising strategies that emerged from focus groups with low-income students, discussions with college administrators, and an extensive literature review. Partnering with six community colleges across the country, MDRC helped develop and evaluated four distinct programs based on financial incentives, reforms in instructional practices, and enhancements in student services. Colleges were encouraged to focus on one strategy but think creatively about combining elements of the other strategies to design programs that helped students perform better academically and persist toward degree completion. The program provides evidence that a range of interventions can improve educational outcomes for community college students. The findings spurred some colleges to scale up their programs, and led to additional large-scale demonstrations to test the most promising strategies. The brief describes the different strategies tested, discusses what MDRC has learned from Opening Doors, and offers some suggestions to policymakers and practitioners for moving forward.
See the report:

Source:PEN Newsblast

Texas Dual Enrollment Report Provides Insights For Other States

 Texas has been a leader in funding and designing high school students who take college courses.

A report from the Texas Education Agency examines the state context of dual credit programs and courses delivered during the 2009-10 academic year and the cost of these courses (via ECS’ P-20 Blog).

College Will Award AA Degrees Retroactively


Over the past five years, more than 1,000 San José-Evergreen Community College District students completed the requirements for a certificate or an associate degree but, for whatever reason, never claimed their credentials. Now, the institutional researcher who recently identified these students wants to track them all down and retroactively award them credentials. This practice will increase graduation rates at colleges, but we need to sort out whether it is old or new students causing trends.

New Studies On Undocumented College Students And Remediation

COLLEGE REMEDIATION – Utilizing data from the Colorado departments of education and higher education, a paper from the Colorado Department of Education shows that students needing remediation in their first year of college could have been identified by an examination of their state assessment results as early as 6th grade.

UNDOCUMENTED COLLEGE STUDENTS – A report from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities looks at state policies regarding undocumented college students.

Obama Proposes Small programs For College Completion

On Tuesday, March 22, Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a 23-page “toolkit” (PDF) of seven low- or no-cost policies governors can employ to improve college completion rates, along with state targets (PDF) for meeting President Obama’s 2020 goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. The toolkit includes recommendations to set state college completion goals, embrace performance funding and reach out to adults who have completed some college credits but who have not yet obtained a degree. The vice president also called on each governor to host a college completion summit and announced a $20 million grant program under the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)’s Comprehensive Program for states seeking to improve college success and productivity.

In addition, the Obama administration’s FY2012 budget proposal (PDF) includes a $123 million “First in the World” incentive for programs that contain tuition, improve college completion rates and help students complete college in a timely manner. The budget proposal also recommends a $50 million College Completion Incentive Grant program that would fund states and schools for systemic reforms that generate better student outcomes. Congress will consider this request as part of the FY2012 budget process.

Complete College America Reports progress in 39 States

Most Governors Are Committed to Bold Action on Completion. in CCA Alliance of States 39 Accept the Innovation Challenge
The numbers speak for themselves.

Over half of our nation’s governors have pledged to fulfill the bold commitments required of Complete College America’s Alliance of States.

Governors in thirty-eight states have accepted the Completion Innovation Challenge, signaling their intention to compete for CCA grants to support sweeping, high-impact reforms essential to boost completion.  (DC is in, too!)

We’ve always believed that Governors get it: for more good-paying jobs, stronger state economies and brighter futures, states must have more college graduates.

And now, there’s proof.

The White House just called for bold action by states.  Complete College America is pleased to report:

the Governors are committed.

We invite you to read a full copy of today’s announcement here.  As always, we welcome your support of this vital effort.

To learn more about the Alliance of States, go here.  For the Innovation Challenge, go here.

Grim Outlook For University Of California System

From La Times:

Reporting from San Francisco — The University of California regents Wednesday heard grim predictions on how proposed state budget cuts would affect students and faculty even as officials sought to soften the blow by slashing spending at the UC headquarters and shifting the savings to the system’s 10 campuses. “The painful truth is that we are at the point of compromising educational quality,” UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal told the Board of Regents. He was among several campus leaders who gave the board forecasts about reduced class offerings and staff layoffs that are likely next year. Among other areas, some key required courses may be offered only once a year, making it harder for students to graduate on time, Blumenthal said. (more…)

Report Looks At Student Debt Issues Beyond Default

Two out of five student loan borrowers were delinquent at some point in the first five years after they started repaying their loans, according to an Institute for Higher Education Policy report. Almost a quarter of the borrowers used an option to postpone payments to avoid delinquency. The study offers a picture of student debt beyond those who default.

Cal State Will Begin Remediation In The Summer

Cal State will require most entering  first year students to begin remediation in the summer. They will offer summer school, on line , and other modalities to these students. This may be the beginning of a national trend.

1. What is Early Start?
Under Early Start, beginning in 2012, entering freshmen that are not proficient in math or “at risk” in
English will need to start the remediation process before their first term. By 2014 students will need
to have started their work on becoming ready for college‐level English.
2. Why an Early Start program?
The CSU is mandated under the state’s Master Plan for Higher Education to serve the upper third of
high school graduates and about half of these men and women do not have college level skills even
though they are fully eligible to attend our campuses including a grade point average of 3.0 or above,
test scores and completion of the A‐G curriculum.
The issue of college preparedness is not a new issue for higher education and certainly not CSU with
over 50% of fully eligible freshmen arriving on CSU campuses without being proficient in math and/or
English. Early Start is simply another effort by CSU faculty, academic leaders, staff and others to help
make sure that these admitted students get this important work done sooner rather than later and to
increase their likelihood of completing their degree in a timely manner.
3. What is different than current CSU policy?
Current CSU policy, as reflected in Executive Order 665, was adopted in the late 1990’s and requires all
entering freshmen to complete their remedial work in the first year of CSU enrollment. Early Start does
not change that timeline; but it does facilitate students’ beginning this work prior to the first term for
which they have been admitted to a CSU campus, so they are better prepared to succeed in their
college courses.
Annual reports are provided to the legislature regarding this policy, the trends on student
preparedness, how many students complete remediation, the demographics of these students, and
the number that were not successful. The most recent report was released this month. All annual
reports including the one released earlier this month can be accessed on our website at:‐reports/20110201‐Final‐First‐Time‐

Low Income Students At For-Profit Institutions Pay The Most For College

Low-income undergraduates enrolled full time at for-profit institutions had the highest average net price after grants as well as the highest average out-of-pocket net price when compared with low-income students enrolled at other institutions. The average net price after grants was $21,300 for low-income students at for-profit institutions but ranged from $7,800 to $17,900 at other institutions. Similarly, the average out-of-pocket net price was $11,700 among low-income students at for-profit institutions but the average for those enrolled elsewhere ranged from $6,000 to $9,800.” ( from ECS)

Source: What is the Price of College? Total, Net, and Out-of-Pocket Prices in 2007-08. U.S. Department of Education (December 2010). Accessed January 28, 2011 from