Where the poor go to college

“Higher education is divided into high-poverty and low-poverty colleges,” an analysis finds. Low-income students are concentrated in community colleges and for-profit four-year colleges. Graduation rates are low.

Defaults exceed grad rates at 514 colleges

Loan default rates are higher than graduation rates at 514 colleges and universities nationwide, according to Education Sector. Nearly half of the “red flag” institutions are operated by for-profit colleges and about one-third are community colleges.

Skepticism is widening about projections of a widening job skills gap, but most think there’s a shortage of “middle-skills” workers with post-high school education and training but no bachelor’s degree.

Community colleges must adapt or die

If community colleges keep trying to be mini-universities, they’ll fail, argues a college chancellor. For-profit competitors are eating their lunch by giving students what they want.

‘BA blinders’ create barriers to success

When college for all means a bachelor’s degree or nothing, most “nontraditional” students will end up with nothing, concludes a policy brief, which calls for “removing BA blinders.”  Instead, community colleges should learn from for-profit career colleges, which offer structured job training, avoid unneeded remediation, develop career ladders, monitor students’ progress and place graduates in jobs — and have much higher completion rates.

Colleges and universities must adapt to the needs of nontraditional students to improve graduation rates, advises a national commission. The nontraditionals — working adults, part-timers, veterans — are the majority.

State funding cuts fuel for-profit growth

With state funding often failing to keep up with enrollment growth, many community colleges have wait-listed would-be students rather than raising tuition, concludes a U.S. Treasury report. That’s pushed students to for-profit colleges, which charge much more but provide the classes students need.

U of Phoenix blocks community college degrees

In Arizona, the University of Phoenix worked to stop community colleges from offering low-priced bachelor’s degree programs. That allowed the for-profit chain to continue to advertise that it offers more degrees and options than community colleges.

A 6-foot, 8-inch woman — formerly a man — is playing on the women’s basketball team at a California community college. Gabrielle Ludwig, 50, played briefly on a men’s team decades ago.

Compare college costs: $3,300 vs. $32,000

A Missouri community college is taking on for-profit competitors with an ad campaign that urges students to do the math: It costs $3,300 for a year at Ozarks Tech vs. $32,000 at Bryan College, a Christian for-profit. The cheaper for-profits in the area cost $14,000.

Texas universities are offering bachelor’s degrees for $10,000 or less to well-prepared students with clear goals. But it’s more of a scholarship for students than a productivity campaign, so far.

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.

California colleges face accreditation woes

Twenty-seven California community colleges face accreditation sanctions. State funding is down while the feds have raised performance standards. Three are in serious trouble, 10 are on probation and 14 have received warnings.

Only one quarter of California’s degree-seeking community college students reach their goal in three years, compared to nearly two-thirds of for-profit students seeking an associate degree or certificate. For-profit schools are much more expensive, of course, but they’re also much better at getting students into the classes they need and getting them to the finish line.

Harkin bill: No aid for ‘worthless’ degrees

Sen. Tom Harkin’s Protecting Students from Worthless Degrees Act, introduced last week, would cut off federal college aid to unaccredited programs at for-profit colleges that don’t qualify graduates to take licensing exams for jobs in their fields of study.