Innovative Educators is proud of its commitment to community colleges and excited to celebrate Community College Month. Each week we are highlighting articles focused on the concerns of community colleges and celebrating the efforts of our community college colleagues. Happy Community College Month and happy reading!
29% of community college students are first-generation students
How Community Colleges Are Addressing Decreasing Enrollment
This week Inside Higher Ed looks at the approaches community colleges are taking to increase enrollment. Many institutions are continuing to offer laptop loaner programs and free wifi to incentivize enrollment. Schools like Northern Virginia Community College are providing free summer classes to current dual enrollment students who are graduating from high school. Northeast Mississippi Community College has a similar program which includes money for living expenses. Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin will continue its College Try program this summer. College Try allows students the opportunity to borrow a laptop and attend classes for free for a week to experience online learning before committing to the semester. So far the program has helped drive summer enrollment which is up by 32%. Given the troubling decline in community college enrollment, institutions are feeling the push to enroll this year’s graduating high school students and find the “lost class” from 2020 and facilitate their pursuit of a college education.
Improving Student Success Through Expanded Supports
The Brookings Institute examines community college efforts to create and expand support resources for student success. The report concludes that programs that are most effective in assisting students to complete degrees are those that focus on personalized student support; comprehensive support is provided to the students by an advisor, mentor, or case manager. “Some of these programs also provide students with academic supports such as tutoring and advising, as well as financial assistance to cover fees, transportation, or emergencies.” The article highlights CUNY’s ASAP program that supports full-time, low-income community college students for up to three years; the program has doubled graduation rates in its first three years.
“[California] is a bellwether not only for what is happening for our most vulnerable students but also for the response. I think the data is really sobering, but what we do in response to that data is the most critical now.” - Michele Siqueiros, president of the California-based Campaign for College Opportunity
Infusing Equity in the Community College Learning Environment
This week the Community College Daily reports on the efforts community colleges are taking to examine their operations through an “equity lens.” Institutions are looking at operations like student services, human resources, the business office, campus security and other units to determine how they can eliminate institutional barriers that prevent students from success. Moreno Valley College has used a guided pathways framework to reorganize its academic and student services so they focus on student support and success. Tulsa Community College has invested in professional development for staff and faculty that has helped support the success of students of color including its Institute for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy which provides training for faculty and staff across the state.
Proposed Budget Boosts Pell Spending
President Biden's discretionary spending plan would provide nearly $103 billion to the U.S. Department of Education including a large boost to expand the Pell Grant and new funding for minority-serving institutions. Education Dive reports that the plan includes a $400 increase to the maximum Pell award which is a step towards doubling the Pell Grant. It would be the largest increase in Pell since 2009. DACA students would be eligible for Pell under this new spending plan. The plan will next go to Congress for approval.
Thanks for reading! Please share your thoughts below.
Author: Meg Foster
April 16, 2021