Colleges fail older, part-time students

Recent high school graduates enrolled full-time at residential colleges make up only 15 percent of college students.  Colleges are failing their older, working, part-time students who make up the “new majority.”

Community college leaders worry that President Obama’s college ratings system will penalize open-access schools. Part-time students, who make up the majority at community colleges, aren’t tracked by the federal data system. Some students — nobody knows how many — say they’re seeking a degree to qualify for federal aid when they’re really trying to learn a job skill.

Who’s a graduate?

The U.S. Education Department plans to start counting part-time and transfer students in official graduation rates, but figuring out how to do it will be difficult without tracking individual students.

Billions for college, but we don’t know grad rates

What’s the college graduation rate? Nobody knows because federal data leaves out or miscounts so many students. It’s time to track individual students’ progress, including transfers, part-timers and second-time-around students, an analyst argues.

Also on Community College Spotlight: A college’s quality isn’t measured by the completion rate.

Don’t rush to define ‘success’

Measuring student success by speedy degree completion could hurt students who combine part-time studies with jobs and family responsibilities, two professors argue.

Should community college students borrow more and work less to improve their chances of completing a degree?

Part-timers could lose Pell aid

Part-time students would lose eligibility for Pell Grants under a bill proposed by House Republicans. 

Also on Community College Spotlight:  An allegedly racist cartoon has stirred controversy at a California community college.