Transfers diversify selective colleges

Selective colleges and universities are pursuing community college achievers who can provide racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity.

Tennessee promises 2 free years of college

The Tennessee Promise guarantees two years of community or technical college tuition to all high school graduates, shifting money from universities to workforce training.

College: Radiation therapy is no place for the religious

When Brandon Jenkins was interviewed for a spot in the radiation therapy program at Community College of Baltimore County, he was asked what’s most important to him. He said, “My God.”

“This field is not the place for religion,” wrote program director Adrienne Dougherty in an email explaining his rejection. Now — surprise! — Jenkins has filed a First Amendment lawsuit charging he was rejected because he expressed his religious beliefs.

Remedial math leads nowhere

More than two thirds of community college students take at least one remedial education course, usually math. Seventy percent of those placed into remedial math will not even attempt a college-level gateway course within two years.

Beware of dragons

A professor at Bergen Community College (New Jersey) was placed on unpaid leave and required to meet with a psychiatrist because he posted a photo of his young daughter in a T-shirt with a Game of Thrones quote on Google+. Daenarys’ line — “I will take what is mine with fire & blood” – was seen as a threat by an administrator, who happened to be a Google+ contact. A security official thought “fire” was a proxy for “AK-47s” rather than dragons.

Campus “free speech zones” are losing in court. A student prevented from preaching in a courtyard has forced Virginia’s community college system to drop its ban on “demonstrations” by individuals.

Remedial reforms face resistance

Community colleges are reforming — or abolishing — remedial education, but some think remedial reforms have gone too far. They fear many students will be placed in college-level courses they can’t handle, while the least-prepared will be shut out of college programs and sent to adult ed.

A Pennsylvania community college has persuaded a local high school to teach the college’s remedial math and English courses to 12th graders. Ninety-two percent  of the high school’s community college-bound graduates place into remedial reading and 100 percent place into remedial math, often at the lowest levels.

Adjuncts lack training, support

Part-time faculty teach 58 percent of community college courses — and rising — yet adjuncts get little training or support. Some complain nobody told them how to make copies or find their departmental mail slot.

Student suspended for questioning governor

After questioning Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy about gun control legislation, Asnuntuck Community College student Nicholas Saucier was escorted off campus, suspended and found guilty of harassment. At his hearing, officials refused to review his videos of the incident, complains FIRE.

Most community college professors don’t speak out on education issues, writes an instructor. “Many two-year campuses are run more like high schools than colleges . . . Much like school principals, some community-college presidents believe it is their role, and theirs alone, to speak out on issues of concern.”

For needy students, a Single Stop for aid

Homeless, Jason showered at the community college gym, slept in the library till closing then rode the subway all night.  At the Single Stop office on campus, a counselor helped him get food stamps, health insurance, student aid, financial counseling, a work-study job and a lead on a cheap room to rent. The nonprofit is partnering with community colleges to help low-income students get the aid they need to stay in school.

Students see loans as ‘easy money’

Community college students see student “loans as an easy source of money,” says Pat Hurley, a financial aid officer at Glendale Community College in California. Tuition is relatively low: Students are borrowing almost entirely to pay for living expenses.

Nationwide, community college students are more likely to borrow and default on their loans than in the past.