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: We estimated the correlations between the “pathways” chosen by community college students—in terms of desired credentials and fields of study, as well as other choices and outcomes along the paths—and the attainment of credentials with labor market value. We focused on the extent to which there were recorded changes in students’ choices over time, whether students made choices informed by their chances of success and by labor market value of credentials, and the impacts of choices on outcomes. Method: Using micro-longitudinal administrative data on a full cohort of Kentucky community college students, we provide summary data on a range of pathway characteristics and outcomes, as well as binomial and multinomial logit estimates of how pathway characteristics affect the odds of completing different kinds of credentials. Some of the logit estimates were based on random or fixed effects models. Results: We found that several characteristics of chosen pathways, such as field of study and desired credential as well as early “momentum,” affected outcomes. Student choices of pathways—and especially differences by gender and academic readiness—sometimes ran strongly counter to information about later chances of success in terms of probabilities of completing programs and attaining strong earnings. Students also changed pathways quite frequently, making it harder to accumulate the credits needed in their fields. Contributions: Attainment of credentials with greater market value by community college students could likely be improved by appropriate guidance and supports for them along the way and perhaps by broader institutional changes as well.
Author: Harry J. Holzer
Posted: April 16, 2021, 4:56 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>Objective:Community colleges across the country are making dramatic shifts away from traditional reliance on placement testing for developmental education and toward using high school measures to assess college-readiness. Yet the views of faculty dealing with these changes, including their perspectives on the quality and usefulness of high school data, are not well-understood. We explore faculty views of high school transcript and placement testing data, attributions made with the data, and beliefs about the extent to which these data are useful for instruction.Methods:We conducted a survey and semi-structured interviews with math faculty in one community college math department (n = 21). We used real high school records to develop a Personalized Student Profile of student math backgrounds to engage faculty in sensemaking about high school and placement testing data.Results:Faculty did not appear to readily trust high school data, tending only to do so when it fit their existing understandings of student ability as measured by placement tests. Although faculty described opportunities to use the data to inform instruction, they noted the challenges of actually doing so.Conclusions:The findings reveal significant faculty concerns about high school measures and point toward shifts in faculty attitudes and beliefs that may need to be addressed in order for reforms that upend traditional approaches to remediation and instruction to be successful. We discuss critical future research directions for this new paradigm of developmental education in community colleges.
Author: Federick Ngo
Posted: April 7, 2021, 7:26 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>Objective: The purpose of our study was to identify the factors associated with federal loan default among a nationally-representative sample of community college students. The guiding research question was: For community college students who borrow federal loans, to what extent do demographic, academic, and enrollment characteristics relate to default? Methods: Using data from the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:04/09), our analysis focused on loan repayment outcomes six years after enrollment for students who began their postsecondary careers at a community college (i.e., a public, two-year institution) and had not transferred to a four-year institution. The analytic methods included descriptive statistics and multinomial logistic regression. Results: Compared to their peers who did not use federal loans, borrowers were more likely to be female, unmarried, lower-income, a Pell Grant recipient, and enrolled exclusively full-time. Regression results indicated that compared to borrowers still in repayment, defaulters were more likely to be male, first-generation college, lower-income, enrolled in workforce certificate and applied associate degree programs, lateral transfers, and non-completers. Notably, two-thirds of the defaulters had $5,000 or less in outstanding debt. Conclusions: Many of the student groups that have traditionally experienced the lowest rates of success at the community college are also the populations more likely to default on their loans. Relatively low levels of debt can still place severe financial hardship on community college borrowers. We propose several modifications to federal loan policy and institutional practices that could help reduce the number of community college borrowers who default.
Author: Lyle McKinney
Posted: April 7, 2021, 7:23 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate how Latino men’s conceptions of masculinities influenced their attitudes and behaviors during the transition from community colleges to 4-year institutions. Method: A phenomenological approach was used to explore the lived experiences of 34 Latino men across Texas, California, and Florida. Each participant was interviewed twice; all data were recorded, transcribed, and coded for themes. Results: Findings suggest that, although prior conceptions of masculinities can sometimes provide positive tools during transfer, these conceptions also cause challenges as men negotiate incongruences between their masculine identity and what is required to succeed in college. Participation in on-campus men’s groups and student organizations can help Latino students navigate these incongruences and negotiate their own intersectional identities and conceptualizations of masculinities in light of their new environment. Contributions: This study demonstrates that Latino men continue to face challenges related to masculinities and identity conflicts during the community college to 4-year institution transfer process. Future research might further investigate how the multiple, intersecting identities of Latino men (e.g., sexuality, class) influence masculinities and transfer experiences. Implications for practice include a recommendation that institutions consider creating on-campus spaces and learning environments to support men in navigating masculinities.
Author: Sarah L. Rodriguez
Posted: April 5, 2021, 7:36 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>Objective:First-generation community college students face unique risks for mental health distress, which can place them at risk for attrition and a myriad of other negative consequences. The aim of the present quantitative investigation was to test the utility of the REDFLAGS model, a mental health literacy based tool for supporting mental wellness, with a national sample of first-generation community college students.Method:Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), logistic regression analysis, and a factorial analysis of variance (ANOVA) were computed to test the utility of the REDFLAGS model as a tool for promoting first-generation community college students’ mental health.Results:The CFA demonstrated that the dimensionality of the REDFLAGS model was estimated adequately with first-generation community college students. First-generation community college students’ recognition of the REDFLAGS as warning signs for mental distress emerged as a significant positive predictor of making a peer-to-peer referral to the counseling center. The factorial ANOVA revealed that first-generation community college students who were members of a Greek Organization were more likely to identify the REDFLAGS as warning signs for mental distress.Contributions:Previous investigators established multiple strategies for supporting the mental health needs of either first-generation or community college students. First-generation community college student mental health, however, has received little attention. This study demonstrates the utility of the REDFLAGS model with first-generation community college students. Considering the dearth of literature on first-generation community college student mental health, the REDFLAGS model offers novel implications for promoting the mental health needs of first-generation students enrolled in community colleges.
Author: Michael T. Kalkbrenner
Posted: March 27, 2021, 5:39 am
Community College Review, Ahead of Print. <br/>
Author: Nicole Brianna Contreras
Posted: March 24, 2021, 12:39 pm
Community College Review, Volume 49, Issue 2, Page 202-237, April 2021. <br/>Objective:This study examined the effects of offering proactive student-success coaching, informed by predictive analytics, on student academic performance and persistence. Specifically, this study investigated semester grade point average (GPA) and semester-to-semester persistence of community college students as outcomes.Methods:This study involved two stages of analysis. First, we used inverse probability of treatment weighting to create appropriately balanced samples of the students offered proactive assistance and students not offered proactive assistance to approximate a randomized control trial with observational data. Then, we applied regression analyses with weights and covariates to the balanced samples to estimate outcomes.Results:Using regression analyses with weights and covariates, we estimated few statistically significant results in sample subgroup models and no statistically significant results for whole-group samples. Generally, our analyses found that the offer of the intervention had no effect on students’ persistence and semester GPAs.Conclusions/Contributions:This study contributes empirical results to the emerging literature regarding student-success coaching, predictive analytics, and student-monitoring systems. The results demonstrate the necessity of performing rigorous analyses on these predictive-analytic systems and reveals ethical concerns that should be considered in designing interventions.
Author: Mark M. Hall
Posted: January 16, 2021, 5:01 am
Community College Review, Volume 49, Issue 2, Page 177-201, April 2021. <br/>Objective: This study sought to determine how aligned community college students’ declared majors were with long-term occupational projections. In addition, the study explored whether this link was sensitive to entry-level education. Method: The current study merged two disparate sources of national education and economic data to form a novel analytic file. The sample of students who attended public, 2-year community colleges were obtained from the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:12/14), which tracked a cohort of students from 2011–2012 through 2013–2014. The second data set featured current and projected jobs numbers organized by the U.S. Department of Labor for the years 2016 and 2026. A series of logistic regression models controlling for both observed and unobserved state-level factors were employed to determine alignment. Results: There did not seem to be a clear correlation between community college students’ choice of career and technical education (CTE) major and labor market projections. Preferred model specifications indicated the decisions to major in the two most remunerative CTE cluster areas (information technology [IT] and Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math [STEM]) were negatively associated with projected market growth in a student’s home state. Contributions: Community colleges are particularly suited to provide the CTE coursework needed to respond to local labor shortages, yet it is not clear from existing research to what degree community college students choose major areas of study in CTE fields based on labor market projections in those fields. These results are of interest to researchers in light of federal policy requiring CTE programs match the current and future needs of local economies.
Author: Cameron Sublett
Posted: January 15, 2021, 8:49 am
Community College Review, Volume 49, Issue 2, Page 156-176, April 2021. <br/>Objective: The purpose of this research is twofold: first, to investigate financially eligible Pell Grant community college students’ perceptions of barriers and enablers to student success, and second, to critique the financial aid satisfactory academic progress (SAP) criteria through a cross-case comparison of students who are meeting and are not meeting the academic requirements. Method: To complete this investigation, I conducted semistructured interviews with financially eligible Pell Grant community college students (N = 62) who were meeting SAP (n = 31) and who were not meeting SAP (n = 31). To analyze the data, I drew on Brint and Karabel’s theory of democratization and diversion as well as Gutiérrez and Lewis’s conceptualization of empowerment theory, and I followed Braun and Clarke’s six-step iterative thematic approach. Results: Financially eligible Pell Grant community college students believe students need motivation, enough resources to meet their responsibilities, and cultural capital to succeed. Observable differences were identified between the two student groups in three areas: environmental responsibilities to resources ratios, cultural capital, and powerlessness. Contributions: Through this article, I created a platform for the voices of financially eligible Pell Grant community college students and their perceptions of barriers and enablers to student success. By conducting the cross-case analysis, the potentially arbitrary nature of the SAP criteria is apparent, despite the real consequences they create for students. This research contributes a long overdue qualitative critique of the SAP criteria, but additional research is warranted.
Author: Mia Ocean
Posted: January 7, 2021, 6:00 am
Community College Review, Volume 49, Issue 2, Page 131-155, April 2021. <br/>Objective/Research Question:Surprisingly, little research explores the literacy practices specific to career technical education (CTE) courses at the postsecondary level, yet the number of students coming to college needing literacy support continues to increase. There is a need for focused research on what constitutes college-readiness. The study described in this article addresses this overarching issue by exploring the text expectations, including text types, tasks, and goals in both CTE courses and developmental reading (DR) courses to determine whether, how, and to what extent text expectations align across the DR and CTE courses.Methods:This multisite research project involved three community colleges in one Midwestern state. Data sources included surveys, focus groups, and textbooks for all courses. Data collection procedures were comparable for each type of data, across all study sites, focal tracks, and constituency groups.Results:This study’s findings suggest a lack of alignment between the DR courses and the introductory-level CTE courses, on a number of levels.Conclusions/Contributions:This study’s findings suggest a need to continue investigating what constitutes college-ready for reading, across multiple disciplinary and career technical areas.
Author: Sonya L. Armstrong
Posted: January 6, 2021, 6:37 am
Community College Review, Volume 49, Issue 2, Page 107-130, April 2021. <br/>Objective: The purpose of this study is twofold. First, this study explores individual student characteristics, specifically those related to demographics, financial need, academic characteristics, and social and cultural capitals, related to study abroad participation among community college students. Second, this study identifies when over the course of their studies community college students are most likely to participate in study abroad. Method: Data consist of student records provided by a large community college located in the U.S. Southeast. An event history model was used to estimate the relationship between both time-variant and time-invariant student-level indicators and study abroad participation. Smoothed hazard estimates were extracted from this model to explore the likelihood of study abroad participation over time. Results: Findings indicate that race/ethnicity, gender, state-residency status, age, need-based aid eligibility, field of study, and enrollment status (full- or part-time) significantly predicted study abroad participation. These results at times stand in contrast with findings from the literature on study abroad participation among students in the 4-year sector. Smoothed hazard estimates indicated that community college students were more likely to study abroad the longer they were enrolled at the community college. Contributions: These results speak to ways in which community college students access capital resources to promote participation in study abroad and highlight unique aspects of community college study abroad programming. Results also provide a foundation for recommendations for practice that would serve to open access to education abroad at community colleges.
Author: Melissa Whatley
Posted: December 29, 2020, 6:46 am

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