Posts published in February, 2013

Massive Study of Why Students Leave College

A first-time examination of the relationship between attrition and lost revenues, The Cost of College Attrition at Four-Year Colleges & Universities  looks at 1,669 four-year public, private and for-profit colleges and universities. Each time a student leaves, school revenue from tuition is lost. Collectively, these institutions of higher learning lose close to $16.5 billion annually. Publicly assisted colleges and universities averaged $13,267,214. Surveyed students gave four reasons for leaving which accounted for 84% of attrition: the college doesn’t care, poor service and treatment, the college isn’t worth it, and schedule (not being able to find courses at times that fit their needs). All 1,669 institutions are listed with attrition rates and amounts of lost revenue. Caution! Study is 269 pages long. Readers should look online for the attrition rates of colleges that interest them.


Do Community College Faculty Have Too Much Power? : A CA. Perspective

Guest Blogger: Robert Shireman, Complete College Calfornia

These  first two blogs detail how faculty and administrators are wasting precious time and energy arguing about decision-making processes rather than addressing student needs:

  • The parking-space stalemate at El Camino College.
  • The missing signature at Modesto Junior College

Our third blog exposes how an obsession with “faculty primacy” at the colleges is preventing collaboration between constituent groups and is harming students. Fixing this problem becomes more pressing every day as crises such as that at City College of San Francisco not only threaten the college’s ability to function but to exist.  And unfortunately, Chancellor Brice Harris missed an opportunity to help CCSF and all community colleges by choosing not to clarify the system’s tangled and broken decision-making structure

Comprehensive Advice for Parents When Kids Leave Home For College

Here is a quick link: (

From Sonny Giffin at

Will San Francisco Community College Implode?

The closer City College of San Francisco gets to the March 15 deadline for determining its fate, the more an alliance of critics disagrees with how administrators are transforming the school to try to keep it open and accredited. The Save City College Coalition of faculty, staff and students is organizing teach-ins, planning marches and wooing elected officials, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, to oppose downsizing the school and denounce pay cuts. “We’re going crazy trying to get the truth out,” said Leslie Simon, a women’s studies instructor at City College since 1975. “We’re very concerned about what we think is union-busting.” An accrediting commission said in July that college finances and governance were a mess, and gave the school until March 15 to turn itself around or lose accreditation and close. Employees – including two successive interim chancellors and a state-appointed special trustee – have since worked frantically to repair 14 major deficiencies flagged by the commission. Support fell away Wary faculty and staff went along. But support began to crumble by fall as they saw that compliance meant tearing down the pillars they say make City College a better place to work than other colleges – but which the accrediting commission calls too expensive and unwieldy. (more)

Pathways For Success In Community Colleges

Policymakers, administrators, and faculty would benefit from a richer understanding of the variety of pathways students take through community colleges. In accordance, this brief advocates for a “deconstructive approach” to the study of community college student pathways. Such an approach draws upon both quantitative and qualitative data to deconstruct student pathways and elaborate the relationships between various pathways and outcomes of interest, such as successful remediation of skill deficiencies, credential completion, and transfer to a four-year institution.

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Rethinking The Student Credit Hour

Council for Higher Education Accreditation President Judith Eaton writes in University World News: Federal regulations that place authority for student learning outcomes in the hands of government officials and not academics are undesirable and, frankly, likely to be less than effective. If the government now defines the credit hour, decides the data that are to be used for student learning outcomes, and leads experiments in alternative approaches for using an outcomes-based approach to the credit hour, what is left for the academy to do?

Source: Carnegie Foundation

Alternatives To 4 Year College That Pay Off

From The Kiplinger Report

  • Certificates—Professional certification is an affordable way to increase your employment potential once you are on the job; especially in fields that don’t require a bachelor’s degree.
  • Associate’s Degrees—Employers are planning on hiring one-third more associate’s degree earners this year than last; far exceeding the increase in demand for bachelor’s degree holders.
  • Take two and transfer— take your prerequisites at a local community college, where tuition and fees are often two-thirds lower, and then transfer to a four-year institution.
  • Earn a BA in three— Graduating in three years lets you avoid a fourth year of college costs and you can start earning a salary a year sooner.
  • Online Courses—the American Council on Education is evaluating the creditworthiness of MOOCs, or “Massive Open Online Courses” from partners such as Coursera, edX and Udacity.

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Reports Worth Reading

Bringing Developmental Education to Scale: Lessons from the Developmental Education Initiative (MDRC)

The Community College Research Center recently released the following reports related to remedial education:
Contextualized College Transition Strategies for Adult Basic Skills Students: Learning from Washington State’s I-BEST Program Model

New Evidence of Success for Community College Remedial English Students: Tracking the Outcomes of Students in the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP)

Progress in the First Five Years: An Evaluation of Achieving the Dream in Washington State


Washington State Student Achievement Initiative Policy Study: Final Report