The cost of not going to college is rising, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. Four-year college graduates ages 25 to 32 who are working full time earn about $45,500, while high school-only young adults average $28,000. The $17,500 gap is a record. College graduates aren’t earning much more than they did in 1986, but wages are sliding for workers with only a high school diploma.
For-profit career colleges have much higher graduation rates than community colleges, writes a community college dean who’s worked in both sectors. That’s because for-profit career colleges put job training first.
College completion rates are higher for former “dual enrollment” students who took college-level courses in high school, according to a new report. But that could reflect selection bias.
Overall, six-year completion rates ranged from 40 percent for those who started at community colleges, 63 percent who started at public universities and 73 percent for students who started at four-year private nonprofit institutions. At two-year for-profit colleges, which focus on job training, 62 percent completed a credential.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.