Seventy percent of students seeking degrees at California's community colleges did not manage to attain them or transfer to four-year universities within six years, according to a new study that suggests that many two-year colleges are failing to prepare the state's future workforce.
Conducted by the Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy at Cal State Sacramento, the report, released Tuesday, found that most students who failed to obtain a degree or transfer in six years eventually dropped out; only 15% were still enrolled.
In addition, only about 40% of the 250,000 students the researchers tracked between 2003 and 2009 had earned at least 30 college credits, the minimum needed to provide an economic boost in jobs that require some college experience.There were also significant disparities in the outcomes of black and Latino students. Only 26% of black students and 22% of Latino students had completed a degree or certificate or transferred after six years, compared to 37% of whites and 35% of Asian Pacific Islanders.
In these kind of educational achievement statistics, the main way to avoid being completely bored is to check whether whites or Asians win in the upper division and whether blacks or Latinos win in the lower division.
The findings point to a troubled college system that needs drastic revamping, said study coauthor Nancy Shulock, executive director of the higher education institute.
"It's not an understatement to say that the future of California is at stake," Shulock said. "Unlike other developing countries with which California and other states have to compete, each generation is getting less educated and attaining fewer higher degrees. The gaps are large and critical and when you look at the future face of California, they are the ones for whom we're not delivering much success."
My dad got an AA degree in aeronautical engineering from Pasadena JC in 1938, but I imagine it now it takes at least four years to get a degree in engineering. Presumably, the subject is just more complicated now.
My wife took a few courses at the local community college a half decade ago and was more than impressed with what she'd gotten for $78 per semester. She thought the instructors were about as good as she'd experienced at the U. of Illinois or at Northwestern U. The classroom learning environment was fine: the classes would start out large, but students would soon stop coming and by the last 2/3rds of the course, class sizes were quite reasonable. Unlike in high school, where discipline is a big problem, the students were well-behaved and non-distracting because the ones who didn't want to be there quickly stopped being there. The courses were reasonably rigorous and did a good job in helping her brush up on the field she was interested in.