Community College News

Community College News

Get the latest and greatest news in the world of community college education.  Keep up with all the developments taking place at the local level to help students further their education and continue on with their career and scholastic goals.

Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>Objective: Empirical work explaining student mobility, particularly postsecondary pathways among 2-year college students, remains limited. This study examines the underlying process that drives 2-year college students into one or more pathways as they navigate higher education. Method: Drawing upon survey, transcript, and interview data from one transfer-focused and two comprehensive community colleges in a Midwestern state, this study uses a grounded theory approach to develop a conceptual model to understand college students’ decision-making process when choosing among competing postsecondary pathways. Results: The resulting College Pathway (Re)Selection Model Among Beginning 2-Year College Students contained two categories—lifetime decision-making and short-term decision-making—that defined the purposes of students’ decisions as they navigate postsecondary education. Within the categories, 2-year college students described the role of payoff, fit, transferability, place, flexibility, and mobility in their decision-making process. Contributions: This study offers a new model that explains what shapes 2-year college students’ decisions and challenges notions of postsecondary pathways, student progress, success, and completion in the context of 2-year college students’ fluid lives and goals.
Author: Kelly R. Wickersham
Posted: October 14, 2019, 1:36 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>Objective: Community colleges have long made higher education more accessible to students from diverse academic backgrounds, particularly those who are academically underprepared and require remediation. In light of developmental education (DE) reform, our article answers the following questions: How do campus personnel articulate the unique mission of Florida’s state colleges, formerly known as community colleges? Furthermore, how do they perceive the mandates of reform to have shaped their ability to carry out this mission? Method: This work is based on an embedded case study of 10 Florida College System institutions. Qualitative data were gathered between 2014 and 2018 from 544 college presidents, administrators, faculty, staff through 92 focus groups and 8 interviews. Results: Campus personnel strongly affirmed the mission of the Florida Colleges System as one of democratic equality. However, many were concerned that DE reform, namely Senate Bill 1720, prioritized efficiency over equality in the pursuit of cost savings. Specifically, participants expressed frustration that reforms accelerated DE coursework to an unmanageable pace and ignored the presence of a digital divide. Opinions of DE reform improved in the 4 years following implementation, but some concern persisted. Contributions: Our findings highlight the centrality of democratic equality to the community college mission for campus personnel. They also suggest that equality and efficiency need not always be opposing goals in education reform. Finally, they call into question social policy that universally promotes accelerated and computer-based courses without considering that some students may require accommodations.
Author: Amanda N. Nix
Posted: September 28, 2019, 4:59 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>Objective: This study examines the characteristics, course enrollment patterns, and academic outcomes of students who started their college careers in noncredit courses. Method: Drawing upon a rich dataset that includes transcript and demographic information on both for-credit and noncredit students in multiple institutions, this study explores the demographic and academic profiles of students enrolled in various fields of noncredit education, their course performance in noncredit programs, their educational intent upon initial enrollment, and their transition to the for-credit sector among degree-seeking students. Results: Our results support recent evidence from qualitative studies and studies from a single institution that students enrolled in noncredit programs tend to be adult learners and are typically from a lower socioeconomic background than credit students at community colleges. Yet, more than half of the noncredit students drop out of college after their initial term, even among students who expressed intent to transition to credit-bearing programs. The idiosyncratic patterns of course enrollment and transition to credential programs seem to suggest that there is no general structured pathway or institutional support for credential-seeking noncredit students. Contributions: This article is among one of the first attempts that use student transcript data from multiple institutions to provide a comprehensive understanding of noncredit students and their academic outcomes. Results from this study highlight the importance of future research in exploring institutional services and structures that may effectively facilitate the academic progression and success of noncredit students.
Author: Di Xu
Posted: September 27, 2019, 11:09 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>
Author: Amanda O. Latz
Posted: September 23, 2019, 6:33 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>Objective: This study seeks to expand understanding of transfer student capital (TSC), including sources of TSC and how TSC is used by community college transfer students to navigate transfer to a public, 4-year institution. Method: Using the TSC framework, a descriptive case study design was employed. Data sources include 17 transfer student interviews, eight observations of pre-transfer meetings between students and advisors, and a review of documents. Data were analyzed inductively and deductively using a pattern matching coding technique. Results: Family and peers appear to be the most common way that students gain TSC to navigate the transfer process. High schools also provide critical transfer information to students. Transfer advisors and faculty either at community colleges or 4-year colleges sometimes provide important transfer information but serve in a critical role of building students’ self-efficacy for transfer rather than merely passing along transfer information. Contributions: This study indicates that high schools, family members, and peers are influential sources of TSC, in addition to previously well-understood sources, such as community college faculty and transfer advisors. This study introduces a new term, self-efficacy for transfer, and offers an expanded TSC conceptual model.
Author: Casey Maliszewski Lukszo
Posted: September 17, 2019, 6:22 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>Objective: To transfer, students often must navigate complex and imperfect information about credit transfer, bureaucratic hurdles, and conflicting degree requirements. This study examined how administrators and transfer personnel think about institutional online transfer resources and examined community colleges’ online transfer information. Methods: For a sample of 20 Texas community colleges, we spoke to key transfer personnel about the information provided to students and reviewed college websites, assessing the ease of access and usefulness of online transfer information. We used a qualitative case study approach to triangulate findings from our data sources. Results: Approximately two thirds of colleges in the sample fell below the highest standard on our rubric for either ease of access or usefulness, indicating room for improvement at most institutions. Many personnel recognized the strengths and limitations of their college’s online information, though several were ambivalent about the need for improving online information, arguing that online information is not as promising an intervention as face-to-face advising. Conclusion/Contributions: Our research illustrates the need for colleges to develop and update their online information intentionally, determining which information students need to transfer (including transfer guides for partner programs/colleges) and how students might search for that information, and ensuring that necessary transfer information is available and up to date. The framework provided by our website review approach, coupled with a proposed rubric to assess ease of access and usefulness of transfer information, may guide institutions in their evaluation of their online transfer information.
Author: Lauren Schudde
Posted: September 13, 2019, 12:23 pm
Community College Review, Volume 47, Issue 4, Page 406-433, October 2019. <br/>Objective: Although immigrant students placed in English as a Second Language (ESL) sequence at community colleges are a growing student population, there is a dearth of research focused on these students in college. This study provides descriptive estimates of community college students’ progression through the credit-earning ESL sequence and disaggregates the findings by Generation 1.5/2.0 status. As community colleges seek to better support students whose primary language is not English, this study provides some of the first empirical evidence on who is placing where and how long it takes students to progress through the ESL sequence. Method: This study uses transcript data from a community college in California that enrolls a large proportion of students in the ESL sequence and estimates a Cox proportional hazards model with time to completing English 101 as the dependent variable. Results: Most Generation 1.5/2.0 students who take the ESL placement test start three levels or below college-level English. Furthermore, Generation 1.5/2.0 students attempt and complete English 101 at a lower rate than international students. Results from the Cox proportional hazards model show that international students are more likely to complete English 101 than U.S. citizens at any given point in time. Among the Generation 1.5/2.0 subsample, female permanent residents are more likely to complete English 101 than citizens. Conclusion: The findings suggest a need to reassess the ESL placement process so that all students placed in ESL are able to successfully progress toward college-level English.
Author: Elizabeth S. Park
Posted: August 14, 2019, 5:32 am
Community College Review, Volume 47, Issue 4, Page 434-461, October 2019. <br/>Objectives: In this study, we explore the influence of enrolling initially at a community college before transferring to a 4-year institution on the selectivity of the destination 4-year institution. Method: We leverage nationally representative data and a propensity score matching approach to compare the institutional selectivity between students who begin at a community college before transferring to a 4-year institution and those who begin at a 4-year college or university. To estimate the relationship between the community college pathway and institutional selectivity, we employ an ordinal logistic regression model. Results: We find that transferring from a community college to a 4-year institution had a positive influence on the selectivity of students’ destination 4-year institution. More specifically, students who enroll initially at a community college before transferring to a 4-year institution have a greater probability of attending a very selective 4-year institution and moderately selective 4-year institution when compared with native 4-year students. Students who transferred from a community college have a lower probability of attending minimally selective 4-year institutions and open-admission 4-year institutions when compared with otherwise-similar students who began at a 4-year institution. Contributions: By showing a positive relationship between the vertical transfer and the level of selectivity of students’ destination 4-year institution, this study highlights a potential benefit of beginning at a community college before transferring to a 4-year institution.
Author: Justin C. Ortagus
Posted: August 13, 2019, 6:58 am
Community College Review, Volume 47, Issue 4, Page 382-405, October 2019. <br/>Objective: An increasing number of states are adopting performance-based funding (PBF) systems for their public colleges, but there are concerns that PBF dissuades colleges from recruiting and enrolling students with a lower likelihood of success. Some states have attempted to address this concern by providing additional funds for successfully serving low-income, underrepresented minority, or adult students, but the effectiveness of these particular provisions has yet to be examined among 2-year colleges. I explore whether these provisions have affected historically underrepresented student enrollments at community colleges. Method: I use generalized difference-in-difference panel regression techniques combined with data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and information from states on their performance funding policies from the 2004-2005 to 2014-2015 academic years to address the research questions. I classified colleges based on whether they had a PBF system with equity provisions, a PBF system without equity provisions, or no PBF in a given year and compared these three groups of institutions. Results: I find little evidence that PBF policies, regardless of their design characteristics, have a relationship with traditionally underrepresented student enrollment levels. Contributions: Although there are concerns that PBF systems induce community colleges to selectively recruit students with a higher probability of success, I find no systemic evidence of that practice. However, as PBF systems become higher stakes and more ingrained in state higher education funding, this finding deserves further study.
Author: Robert Kelchen
Posted: July 27, 2019, 9:14 am
Community College Review, Volume 47, Issue 4, Page 360-381, October 2019. <br/>Objective: Most community colleges receiving the Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designation have no specific mission to serve Hispanic students. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore how receiving an HSI designation affects the identity and practices of a community college. Method: Ten years of institutional documents covering the HSI transition period and 40 individual interviews were analyzed for common identity themes and indicators of a commitment to serving Hispanic students. Results: Participants attributed no meaning to the HSI designation; however, the identity labels did have meanings associated with being Hispanic-serving. A “serving all students” ideology combined with a color-blind approach and fear of external stakeholder reaction to the HSI designation were barriers to adopting an HSI identity. Contributions: Previous studies have relied on evidence of planned change as an indicator of an HSI identity. Unplanned change, however, has received very little attention. Our study demonstrates that unplanned changes in some practices and structures did result in movement toward being more Hispanic-serving as the college attempted to serve all students. As many HSIs have chosen not to address a formal change in identity, the unplanned change construct provides valuable data that might otherwise be overlooked.
Author: Todd L. Carter
Posted: July 25, 2019, 9:14 am
Community College Review, Volume 47, Issue 4, Page 323-359, October 2019. <br/>Objective: This study examines whether Louisiana’s performance-based funding (PBF) implementation in 2011 impacts various academic outcomes at community colleges, and whether the impact varies for institutions with higher proportions of underrepresented students. Method: Using institutional-level panel data between 2006 and 2016, I employ difference-in-differences to estimate the average treatment effect of the Granting Resources and Autonomies for Diplomas (GRAD) Act on credential production, retention, and graduation rates of Louisiana’s community colleges. I also examine how this effect differs between minority-serving-institutions (MSI) and non-MSIs, as well as between low-income-student-serving institutions (LSI) and non-LSI by calculating difference-in-difference-in-differences (DDD) estimates. Results: The findings indicate that PBF implementation is positively related to community colleges’ certificate production and graduation rates in Louisiana, but it has no impact on associate degree production or retention rates. Due to PBF implementation, LSIs grant fewer associate degrees than comparable non-LSI institutions. No disparate impact is found between MSIs and comparable non-MSIs. Contributions: Given the prevalence of PBF in the nation, this study examines the overall impact of PBF implementation on academic outcomes of community colleges in Louisiana, and it further disaggregates the community colleges by institutional characteristics, providing evidence for researchers and policymakers to support broad access and student success at MSIs and LSIs under PBF.
Author: Xiaodan Hu
Posted: July 24, 2019, 9:07 am

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