Colleges take transfers, deny credits

Some colleges demand transfers pay a non-refundable deposit before learning how many of their credits will be counted. It’s common for transfers to learn half their credits are useless.

Project Win-Win helped colleges boost their graduation rates by analyzing data bases to find students who’d completed degree requirements — or come close — but hadn’t received the degree.

What do transfer students want?

What do transfer students want? They want to get credits for their credits. Many universities reject credits earned elsewhere, even though students were told the classes would count. That raises costs and  lowers the odds students will complete a degree.

Khan: Free learning, cheap credentials

Khan Academy founder Salman Khan talks about his new book, The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined, in an interview with MIT Technology Review. Instead of the Prussian model — students march in lockstep through the curriculum — Khan believes technology will make “mastery learning” practical.

Everyone advances at his or her own pace. Don’t try algebra until you know your arithmetic. Spend less time in lectures and more in hands-on problem solving.

Most students can be motivated to learn, if they can go at their own pace, Khan says. “The core reason for students disengaging is that they are frustrated. They’re in algebra class but don’t have a good foundation in pre-algebra or arithmetic.”

Khan Academy is “investing heavily” in analytics, says Khan. “What does a student know? What does a student not know? How effective is the tutorial?” In elementary and middle schools using Khan in the classroom, teachers are very enthusiastic about the real-time learning assessments — more so than the videos.

Online learning will revolutionize higher education and liberate students from ever-rising college costs, Khan says.

Here’s what I think it could look like in five years: the learning side will be free, but if and when you want to prove what you know, and get a credential, you would go to a proctoring center [for an exam]. And that would cost something. Let’s say it costs $100 to administer that exam. I could see charging $150 for it. And then you have a $50 margin that you can reinvest on the free-learning side.

If students can earn credible credits by taking free online classes, the college cartel will be broken, writes Jeff Selingto at the Chronicle of Higher Education. Now universities often reject transfer credits, claiming the quality of instruction doesn’t match their own, he writes.

. . . what happens when students arrive at the registrars’ office with credit-bearing courses from professors at Stanford, Penn, and Princeton? What will the excuse be then to reject the credits—that the courses were free? Such an excuse might finally expose the true reason many colleges refuse to accept transfer credits: They want students to pay them tuition for a class . . .

It all depends on assessment. If there’s a credible, cost-effective way to measure learning, then everything changes.

Community colleges are real colleges

Community colleges are real colleges that provide a low-cost path to a bachelor’s degree, not just job training centers.

Most transfers earn 4-year degree

Most community college transfers earn a bachelor’s degree at a considerable savings in tuition. But only 20 percent transfer, even though more than 80 percent start community college with hopes of earning a bachelor’s or beyond.

In search of STEM students

Universities are turning to community colleges in the search for potential STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students who are black, Hispanic and/or female.

A degree at 93 — 53 years late

Olive Gardner attended Compton City College in the 1930s, Santa Barbara State College in the 1940s and what was then San Jose State College in the 1950s, while working and raising five children. But San Jose State rejected some of her transfer credits and denied her a bachelor’s degree. This month, the 93-year-old was awarded a degree in home economics. University officials say she should have graduated with the class of ’59.

On a college wait list? Here’s a low-cost option

With 470,000 students on community college wait lists in California, UniversityNow, a “social venture” in San Francisco, is offering online general-education classes at community college prices. UNow recently bought accredited (though on probation) Patten University, which will issue what should be transferable credits.

Meanwhile, one community college in California is looking for donors to  ”sponsor” classes the college can’t afford to teach.

CC was first step for many 4-year grads

Forty-five percent of four-year graduates studied — at least for awhile — at a community college, reports a new study. Forty percent were enrolled only for one or two terms.

Also on Community College Spotlight: The wine industry has saved Walla Walla, Washington — with the help of the local community college, which trains new wine workers.

California: 470,000 on college wait lists

More than 470,000 California community college students are on wait lists to get into the classes they need as the fall semester starts. Colleges will cut more classes in January, if voters reject a tax hike on the November ballot.

Those who make it to an associate degree may discover there’s no space for them at state universities.