College grad rates are misleading

Federal graduation rates are misleading for two-year institutions because they confuse associate degrees and short-term vocational certificates.

The feds only look at first-time, full-time college students. A new study finds completion rates are low for second-timers. Only 33.7 percent of returning college students completed their degree, compared with 54.1 percent of first-time students.

University wants to give 2-year degrees

Kent State University wants to award two-year degrees to students on their way to four-year degrees. Dropouts would have something to show for their time in college — and the university would get more state funding for awarding more degrees.

Two-year degrees in nursing, allied health fields, mechanics, construction and welding increase earnings significantly. Child care degrees do not.

Would-be nurses face ‘degree creep’

Community colleges educate more than 40 percent of registered nurses but “degree creep” is making it harder for nurses with associate degrees to get clinical training and hospital jobs.

More jobs for 2-year graduates

Employment is surging for community college graduates while four-year graduates wait tables — and wait to start their professional careers.

Employers want universities to collaborate on job training, but it’s a tough sell.

‘Middle’ skills lead to middle-class jobs

Career technical education is “the missing middle ground in American education and workforce preparation,”  concludes a new report. There are 29 million jobs paying middle-class wages — $35,000 to $75,000 a year — that are open to workers with employer-based training, industry or college certifications, apprenticeships and associate degrees.

Students need to know there’s a third path to success that gets them much farther than a high school diploma and doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree, writes a community college president.

Getting to Graduation: How — and how many?

Getting to Graduation will require state and federal policies that encourage new and established higher ed providers “to compete with one another on the value they deliver to their students,” argues a new book on the completion agenda in higher education. And don’t forget apprenticeships, vocational certificates and associate degrees that qualify graduates for “middle-skill” jobs.

Study: 2-year for-profit students earn more

Associate degree students at for-profit colleges raise their earnings as much as community college students — or more — concludes a new study. Students who choose the more costly for-profit option are nearly twice as likely to earn a degree as community college students, even though the for-profit students are more likely to be poor, black, single parents and GED holders.

Amazon offers college aid to warehouse workers

Amazon will give warehouse workers up to $2,000 in annual scholarships to pursue associate degrees in high-wage, high-demand careers, such as aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies, medical lab technologies and nursing.

What for-profit colleges do right

Two-year for-profit colleges do a good job graduating disadvantaged students with vocational certificates and associate degrees.

Community colleges are going online to provide job training.

A bachelor’s isn’t always better

Texas needs skilled workers with two-year technical degrees, say educators and employers. A bachelor’s isn’t always better.

Also on Community College Spotlight: From jail to a job.