California builds transfer bridges

The University of California hopes to restrain college costs and expand diversity by streamlining community college transfers.

Illinois sets lower standards for blacks, Latinos

Under a No Child Left Behind waiver, Illinois schools will set lower standards for blacks, Latinos, low-income students and other groups, reports the Chicago Tribune.

For example, while 85 percent of white third- through eighth-grade students will be expected to pass state tests by 2019, the goal is 73 percent for Latinos and 70 percent for black students.

NCLB calls for 100 percent of students to pass reading and math exams this school year. Obviously, that’s not going to happen. “By 2013, almost 85 percent of Illinois schools had received failing labels, including many of the state’s premier high schools,” reports the Tribune.

Since Congress has failed to update the law, the Education Department has given most state waivers. Illinois isn’t the first to set different standards for different student groups.

The lowest 15 percent of struggling schools in Illinois will be targeted for state attention. The six-year goal is to halve the percentage of students and groups who fail reading and math exams.

 Each year, groups will have goals for improving that push them toward their 2019 target. Because groups start at different places, their final targets will be different too. For example, state data provided to the federal government shows the percent of students passing exams in 2019 would range from about 52 to 92 percent, depending on test, grade and student group.

For all students combined, the passing rate would be about 76 to 79 percent in 2019 — lower than the now-infamous 100 percent requirement.

Illinois also will use “supergroups,” lumping together black, Latino and Native American students in the same group rather than looking at their achievement separately.  The Campaign for High School Equity, a coalition of civil rights and education advocacy groups, said supergroups undercut accountability. “This eliminates one of the most important civil rights victories in education law, and returns us to a time where states may not be responsive to the needs of underserved students.”

Under the state’s new policy, districts won’t have to offer tutoring — or transfers — to students in repeatedly failing schools.

Each school will have different achievement goals, so it will be harder for parents to compare schools’ achievement results.

Early transfers risk debt but no degree

Most community college students who transfer to a four-year college or university haven’t completed a two-year degree. That lowers their chances of completing a bachelor’s degree, a new study finds. Early transfers often find many of their credits won’t count — or won’t help them complete a major. Often they end up with debt but no degree.

UC plans to streamline transfers

Making it easier for community college students to transfer will expand opportunity and improve diversity at the University of California, argues a task force report.

Making the transfer dream a reality

Eighty percent of community college students say they plan to transfer and earn a four-year degree, but only 15 percent will earn a bachelor’s degree in six years. Now colleges and universities are working harder to make the transfer dream a reality.

High-achieving, low-income community college transfers can succeed at very selective four-year colleges and universities, according to a study for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

Lost credits hurt transfer students

Lost credits make it difficult for community college transfers to earn a bachelor’s degree, concludes a new study. Fifty-eight percent of students transfer with at least 90 percent of their credits; 14 percent lose 90 percent or more of their credits.

The average full-time student completes 136.5 credits for a 120-degree bachelor’s degree, estimates Complete College America.

California’s associate degree for transfer is smoothing the path for community college graduates seeking bachelor’s degrees, but not all state universities are “saying yes” to transfer students.

How to earn a low-debt bachelor’s degree

Starting at a community college will cut the cost of a bachelor’s degree, but students have to be savvy about transferring credits to make it work.

Rating colleges by grads’ pay isn’t easy

If colleges and universities are judged by former students’ earnings, community colleges will look bad, a dean writes. When community college students go on to a bachelor’s degree, the two-year school gets no credit for their success.

Negotiators are trying to reach consensus on “gainful employment” regulations. The federal rules will deny student aid to job training programs whose graduates don’t earn enough to pay back their loans.

CC success includes graduates — and transfers

Only 18 percent of degree-seeking community college students will complete a two-year degree in three years, according to federal data. Including transfers who go on to earn a bachelor’s degree raises the community college success rate to nearly 40 percent.

72% of credentialed transfers earn 4-year degree

More than 61 percent of community college transfers earn a bachelor’s degree in six years.  Completion rates are much higher — 72 percent — for transfers who’ve earned a two-year degree in community college.

City Colleges of Chicago’s reinvention campaign has raised the graduation rate — from 7 percent to 12 percent. The five-year goal is 20 percent.