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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: 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, Ahead of Print. <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, Ahead of Print. <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, Ahead of Print. <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, Ahead of Print. <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
Community College Review, Volume 47, Issue 3, Page 295-317, July 2019. <br/>Objective: The purpose of this narrative study was to document and explore the life experiences of two undocumented Latino students at a community college in Southeastern Florida. The research questions that guided this study are “What are the narratives and lived experiences of undocumented Latino males attending a community college in Southeastern Florida?” and “What assimilation experiences inform undocumented Latino males’ educational aspirations to attend a community college?” Method: A narrative inquiry was used to document the lived experiences of two undocumented Latino male students. Each participant was interviewed; all data were recorded, transcribed, then coded for themes. Results: The findings provide an understanding that experiences in K-12 educational spaces were vital to their development and self-understanding of their undocumented identity; the notion to pursue college was cultivated in both these undocumented Latinos from an early age; and despite the anti-immigrant stereotypes they encountered, they continue to stay focused to help their families and accomplish their academic goals. Contributions: Undocumented immigrants, more than ever, continue to face different challenges in the United States, which affect their educational attainment, particularly for Latino males. Implications for practice include that institutions should become undocufriendly for all undocumented students.
Author: Cristobal Salinas
Posted: June 6, 2019, 9:11 am
Community College Review, Volume 47, Issue 3, Page 219-241, July 2019. <br/>Objective: This study of higher education governance had three questions: (a) How does higher education attainment policy vary in type, quantity, and focus across state governance arrangements? (b) How do per capita income, population, educational development, and higher education regional compact combine with state-level higher education governance to influence attainment policy production? and (c) How does the arrangement of higher education governance shape the contribution of community colleges to foster improved state educational attainment? Method: The study employed a mixed-methods case-based research design utilizing data from the Boosting College Completion data set and McGuinness’s classification of community college governance to calculate descriptive statistics. Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) compared the 50 states, with each case having five conditions previously found to be critical in policy formation. Results: The study found that the absence of a governing board was most influential in attainment policy outputs. State contextual conditions previously found to influence higher education policy production were not critical. The study’s findings suggest that governing board states may underutilize community colleges in raising overall college completion and educational attainment through a mismatched policy environment. Contributions: These findings are foundational for an expanded research agenda focused on community college governance, leadership, and advocacy practices. Future research should examine the policy environment mismatch of governing board arrangements and how to expand the role of community colleges in the college completion agenda.
Author: Carol Cutler White
Posted: June 6, 2019, 9:11 am
Community College Review, Volume 47, Issue 3, Page 274-294, July 2019. <br/>Objectives:What are some of the key reasons Asian American students enroll in community colleges?Method:We utilized qualitative methods, conducting 49 interviews in Southern California with current Asian American community college and transfer students at three institutions.Results:We identified five key reasons why Asian American participants attended community college: cost, strategy, lack of intentionality in college planning, lack of support and accurate information, and needing a second chance.Contributions:Altogether, findings showcase how Asian Americans experience an array of diverse pathways in choosing to access the community college. In particular, findings highlight the major roles of cost and life hardship in Asian American students’ motivations for attending community colleges.
Author: Julie J. Park
Posted: June 6, 2019, 9:11 am
Community College Review, Volume 47, Issue 3, Page 242-273, July 2019. <br/>Objective: This study examines the role of community colleges in closing the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by studying whether beginning at a community college improves the likelihood of female students earning their bachelor’s degree in STEM. Method: Using nationally representative data, we apply a propensity score matching approach to reduce the selection bias associated with a prospective student’s decision to begin at a community college rather than a 4-year institution. For each gender group, we employ a logistic regression model to estimate the influence of the community college pathway on STEM bachelor’s degree attainment. Results: We find that enrolling initially at a community college has a negative influence on students’ bachelor’s degree attainment in STEM for the pooled sample and male subsample. However, this finding does not hold for the female subsample, indicating that female students who attend community college before transferring to a 4-year institution are not less likely to obtain a bachelor’s degree in STEM. Although additional analyses indicate that community college starters are more likely to drop out from a STEM bachelor’s degree program, the impact only exists for the pooled and male samples but not for female students. Contributions: Considering the significant efforts community colleges have devoted toward creating a suitable environment for female students in which to thrive, this study provides empirical evidence that community colleges have the potential to narrow the STEM achievement gap between gender groups and provide significant utility for female students seeking a bachelor’s degree in STEM fields.
Author: Xiaodan Hu
Posted: May 22, 2019, 5:52 am
Community College Review, Volume 47, Issue 3, Page 318-320, July 2019. <br/>
Author: Mary Ann Bodine Al-Sharif
Posted: May 22, 2019, 5:51 am

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