Community Colleges Battle Head On With Universities

community college

From Inside Higher Education.

SAN ANTONIO — Community colleges are learning that getting the authorization to offer four-year degrees doesn’t mean the struggle is over.

Twenty-two states allow community colleges to award bachelor’s degrees, and many administrators believe that number will grow. During the 2015 American Association of Community Colleges annual meeting here, many of those administrators said they are working to convince the public and their counterparts in the four-year community of the benefits of offering a four-year program — and that they continue to face limits and opposition.

Florida has allowed community colleges to confer four-year degrees for years, yet last year the colleges received a new hurdle when the state Legislature placed a moratorium on new four-year programs. Meanwhile, California’s pilot program — viewed as a breakthrough for the movement — is limited to 15 colleges that may offer at most one bachelor’s degree program each and may not offer degrees offered by any public university.

California authorities approved four-year programs at community colleges in dental hygiene, biomanufacturing and health information management, but nursing was excluded because that would have duplicated public university programs.

By 2020 the state will have a critical shortage of nurses, said Constance Carroll, chancellor of San Diego Community College District, because hospitals will be required to have 80 percent of the nursing staff holding bachelor’s degrees. In 2014, the state’s Board of Registered Nurses reported about 60 percent of their workforce had obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher.

To community colleges, the shortage is clear evidence that they should be able to offer programs in nursing. (Critics fear a shortage of money to fund the new programs, and the possibility of mission creep at two-year institutions.)

“This turf war and emotionalism of it all is so great that people haven’t focused on actual details and quantity issues,” Carroll said.

“It will be a huge undertaking and the public universities don’t have the capacity,” said Linda Thor, chancellor of Foothill-De Anza Community College District.

Jackson Sasser, president of Santa Fe College, in Florida, said of the moratorium in Florida that the “resistance hasn’t just come from the public universities.”

Rather, he said, “It’s the for-profits and private colleges and universities opposing this because they see us as competition. Eight years ago they wouldn’t offer these degrees, but now they’re in opposition to us.”

Sasser said he’s optimistic the moratorium will be lifted soon.

Thor said she believes it will take an educational campaign for colleagues in the field to understand the market needs for these programs and how the community colleges’ bachelor’s degrees will help.

When Californians see that they can achieve a $10,000 degree in a high-demand field, they will be demanding we offer these programs, she said.


#### Announces New Webinars

calcollge is the one-stop website for information about higher education in California for students, counselors, and parents. It has been developed in collaboration with the New WindowCalifornia State University (CSU)New WindowUniversity of California (UC)New WindowCalifornia Community Colleges (CCC)New WindowAssociation of Independent California Colleges and Universities (A I C C U), and the New WindowCalifornia Department of Education. includes the following features:

  • Explore Colleges and Careers
    • Explore the full range of accredited public and non-profit colleges and universities in California and nationwide
    • Determine the careers that best match your skills and interests
    • Match schools and majors with your career interests
  • Plan and Pay for College
    • See which high school classes are needed to meet admission requirements
    • Learn about ways to pay for college
    • Create a personal portfolio to track your college planning
  • College Admissions
    • Gather information about the admission requirements at all California colleges and universities
    • Apply online to many of the colleges and universities in California

Webinars Announced:

There are two upcoming webinars of value provided by CCGI in for, please be aware that you do have to sign up for the webinars at least 24 hours in advance of the start time to be permitted access.
First Webinar is geared towards anyone who has Administrator rights in the Professional Center as opposed to Professional rights.   If you are new to the Professional Center it is a great way to figure out the difference between the two user roles so you can decide how to assign user roles accordingly on campus.
The Professional Center for Administrators:
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM (PDT)
Second Webinar is geared towards anyone at a school site who is interested in data collection and contextualizing the date to further support students growth. It will help you understand how the student activities on the site help translate and correlate into useful data.
Utilizing Pro Center Reports to Gather End-of-Year 

Thursday, May 14, 2015 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM (PDT)


NCLB Rewrite Lacks Safeguards for Low-Performing Schools

Bob Wise

Tuesday could mark the beginning of the end for the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and its one-size fits all mandates. That is the good news. The bad news is that the bipartisan bill that the Senate education committee will take up on Tuesday could start a major retreat from the recent historic increases in high school graduation rates. For this reason and others, the bill should not become law without major improvements.

Offered by committee leaders U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), the bipartisan bill to rewrite NCLB provides needed flexibility to states from the cookie-cutter consequences of NCLB, which treated all schools alike rather than tailoring support to meet a school’s specific challenges. The Alexander-Murray bill also requires states to collect and report data on schools. The bill provides extensive flexibility to states on how to respond, but it does not actually require states to act, instead permitting states to decide when, if, and where to intervene. That is like equipping the fire department with new tools and alarms, then giving each fire house the option to choose which fires to put out.

The bill ignores recent successes. Confronted with decades of chronically low high school graduation rates the federal government in 2008 required uniform graduation rate reporting backed by required interventions for schools that failed to show progress for traditionally underserved students. It is working. Last year overall high school graduation rates reached 81 percent; a historic first.

But with more than 1,200 high schools still graduating less than two-thirds of their students, now is not the time to be tough on data and weak on action. The more than 1.1 million students, attending these schools are 40 percent African American, even though African American students make up less than 15.7 percent of the overall K–12 public school student population. Seventy percent of these students are from low-income families, even though students from low-income families make up half of the overall K–12 public school student population. In 12 states, Hispanic students make up 30 percent of the population of these schools and in 4 states, American Indian/Alaskan Native students make up over 90 percent of the population in chronically low performing schools.

States and school districts are demonstrating that low-performing high schools can be turned around. High schools in diverse locations such as New York City, Chicago, and Talladega County, Alabama, are using effective solutions such as early-warning systems, personalized learning environments, and digital learning to significantly increase the number of low-income students and students of color graduating from high school ready for college and a career. In fact, evidence demonstrates that the combination of federal accountability and local innovation has led to gains in graduation rates across subgroups over the past decade. The lack of support for struggling students and schools in the Alexander/Murray bill puts these gains at risk.

To ensure that the schools and students with the highest needs receive support, the U.S. Senate education committee should require states to target resources and focus reform on high schools with a graduation rate at or below 67 percent. Great discretion should be left to states, districts, and schools about how they respond; no discretion should exist about whether to respond.

Additionally, the bill should require states to intervene in schools where students of color, low-income students, students with disabilities, English language learners and other subgroups of students fail to meet the state’s graduation rate goal for two years in a row. This safeguard is necessary because, as a new Alliance analysis finds, fourteen states had no trigger for action in response to low graduation rates among underserved students when they were not required to do so. Transparency without teeth only benefits real estate agents selling houses based on proximity to good schools. It does not benefit kids who are stuck in low-performing schools.

As it rewrites NCLB, the Congress has the opportunity to couple much greater flexibility for states and districts with proven requirements that continue increasing  graduation rates for all students.  Tuesday’s committee action should be about changing the provisions of the 14 year-old NCLB that do not reflect current education needs; not reversing the gains that have been made in improving high school graduation rates.

Bob Wise is president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia.


Grants to CA Students Who Finish in Four Years


A state senator from San Diego has proposed a plan to put more money into California’s higher education system and perhaps stop a proposed student tuition hike at University of California campuses.

Democrat Sen. Marty Block’s Senate Bill 15 will be heard by the Senate Education Committee on April 8. Block is proposing to use money from the general fund to provide $25 million to the University of California and the California State University systems to offer more classes. He wants another $50 million for each system to provide more student support services to ensure students graduate within four years.

On top of that, Block is proposing to offer incentives to students who finish in a timely manner. If a student graduates in four years, he or she will be given an incentive grant of $4,000.

“There are multiple goals,” Block told KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday. “One of things is it really pushes is getting students in and out in four years. The overall goal is to get more students out into the workforce.”

Block said more funding is needed because most students are graduating in five to six years. More Californians are also needed in the workforce, he said.

“To me, it’s an important investment the state needs to take,” Block said. “We can easily get another $300 million out of the general fund.”

Block’s staff estimates that the proposal would cost $342 million in fiscal 2016.

The bill comes at a time when University of California President Janet Napolitano has proposed drastic measures in order to keep the system financially sound. She said the university system would cap the number of in-state enrollments if state money is withheld. On top of that, the UC regents, the system’s governing board, also have authorized a tuition hike of 28 percent over the next five years.

Block has served on the San Diego County Board of Education and the San Diego Community College District board of trustees. Last year, his bill that allowed community colleges to begin a pilot program to offer four-year degrees was passed.

Transform Your Tax Refund Into Bright College Future

Now that tax season is upon us, use this time to review your college savings goals and take another look at your savings strategy. Saving now can make for a brighter future later. So, as you gather up your W2 and other tax-related materials, consider opening or making a contribution to a ScholarShare account. ScholarShare, California’s 529 College Savings Plan, can provide parents and relatives – anyone saving for a child’s college education – with valuable tax advantages.

Consider putting your tax refund to work in three simple ways:

  • Have the Franchise Tax Board deposit some or all of your state tax refund into your ScholarShare account;
  • Make a contribution electronically from your bank account; or
  • Mail a contribution check directly to the Plan

For additional information about how to do more with your tax refund this year, visit

ScholarShare is proud to partner with California GEAR-UP, so we can work together to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in college.

According to a 2013 survey by Hart Research Associates, 92% of parents considered getting a college degree worth it, but only 46% of parents have set up a dedicated savings or investment account for their child’s higher education costs. ScholarShare, recently awarded a Bronze metal rating by Morningstar, a prominent ratings agency, is administered by the state of California and managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. Named for the section of the internal revenue code under which they were created, 529 plans offer families a tax-advantaged way to save for college.

Some of the benefits of the ScholarShare Plan include:

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To learn more or to open an account, visit or call 1-800-544-5248. Like ScholarShare on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at @ScholarShare529.

Preparing for college academically and financially can help keep students on the path toward success.

Consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in the ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan. Please visit for a Program Disclosure Booklet containing this and other information. Read it carefully.

 Before investing in a 529 plan, you should consider whether the state you or your Beneficiary reside in or have taxable income in has a 529 plan that offers favorable state income tax or other benefits that are only available if you invest in that state’s 529 plan.

 The tax information contained herein is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. Non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal and state taxes and the additional federal 10% tax. Non-qualified withdrawals may also be subject to an additional 2.5% California tax on earnings.

 Investments in the Program are neither insured nor guaranteed and there is the risk of investment loss.

 The ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan Twitter and Facebook pages are managed by the state of California. TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., Plan Manager