College for more — since 1940

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This MetricMaps GIF shows how college attainment has spread. In 1940, no more than 7 percent of adults in any state had a bachelor’s degree, notes Vox. That rose to 10 percent by 1960. Fifty years later, the best-educated states are nearing 40 percent.

CCs add 4-year degrees, but face pushback

Community colleges in 22 states now offer four-year degrees — usually in technical and vocational fields — but universities are fighting the trend.

California eyes 4-year degrees at 2-year colleges

California may let community colleges offer low-cost bachelor’s degrees, if they don’t compete with state universities. Credential inflation is making it harder for two-year graduates in fields such as nursing and respiratory therapy to find jobs. But there are few places in programs at state universities. Twenty-one states now have bachelor’s programs — almost always vocational — at community colleges.

Twenty-eight percent of community college students in Indiana complete a certificate or degree in six years, the state estimates.

10 years after 10th grade …

Ten years after 10th grade, 33 percent of young people had earned bachelor’s degrees or higher, reports a longitudinal federal study. Nine percent reported their highest credential was an associate degree and 10 percent earned a certificate, Another third reported “some college” but no credential.

Sixty-three percent were working and finished with school; another 19 percent were working and taking college classes. Five percent were taking courses and not working, while 13 percent were out of work and out of school.

Forty percent of those who’d attended college did not take out student loans and another 16 percent borrowed less than $10,000.  Thirty-three percent borrowed $10,000 to $50,000 for college and 11 percent took out $50,000 or more in student loans.

High school grades strongly predicted college success. Only 12.4 percent of C students (2.0 to 2.49) and 27.6 percent of C+ students (2.5 to 2.99) earned a bachelor’s degree. That rose to 50.1 percent for B students  (3.00 to 3.49) and 76 percent for students with a 3.50 or better.

Universities fight 4-year CC degrees

Colorado university leaders are fighting a bill that would let community colleges offer bachelor’s degrees in vocational  and technical fields, charging “mission creep.”  Supporters say rural students could earn workforce credentials without relocating. It’s a growing trend with Florida community colleges leading the way.

U of Phoenix partners with community colleges

The University of Phoenix will roll out more than 100 new partnerships with community colleges in the coming year. The nation’s largest for-profit university will offer bachelor’s degree programs to two-year graduates, gaining students who are more likely to graduate and repay their student loans.

Under increasing regulatory scrutiny, the University of Phoenix has seen enrollment drop precipitously from a peak near 500,000 to 320,000.

The trouble with transfer reforms

Streamlining transfers between community colleges and four-year universities makes sense, but transfer reforms won’t help more students earn bachelor’s degrees. States with streamlined articulation policies don’t have higher transfer rates, higher bachelor’s degree completion rates, shorter time-to-degree and/or fewer “wasted” credits.

Soldier earns valedictorian honors

After working 12 hours a day as a hazardous materials specialist at Bagram air base in Afghanistan, Army Staff Sgt. Dysha Huggins-Hodge studied in the computer lab, determined to complete an associate degree at Anne Arundel Community College on schedule — and to earn A’s. Now stationed in Maryland, the 4.0 student gave the valedictorian speech at her graduation last week.

Also on Community College Spotlight: Women earned 62 percent of associate degrees and 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees in 2008-09.

Who pays for college? Who gains?

College pays for bachelor’s degree graduates, though it pays a lot better for graduates of selective colleges and universities than it does for those who go to unselective colleges, concludes a new report. But the return on investment isn’t all that great for taxpayers.

Also on Community College Spotlight (and taking the other side of the argument): Higher education is a huge bubble that’s about to burst.

I congratulated my sister on being the mother of two college graduates: Her son Alan earned a computer science degree in March and daughter Lee earned a degree in cognitive science a few days ago.  “I’m the mother of two unemployed people,” she said.

Some states slash universities, trim CCs

Some states are planning deep cuts to state universities and smaller cuts to community colleges.

Also on Community College Spotlight: Do nurses need a bachelor’s degree?