‘Skill builders’ don’t want degrees

Not all college students want a degree. “Skill builders” use low-cost community colleges to pick up expertise. Once they have what they need — often a raise — they depart, driving up the college’s dropout rate.

About half of recent veterans using the GI Bill will complete a college degree or job training within 10 years, reports a new study. Vets do better in school than adult students who haven’t served in the military.

To understand vets, educators try boot camp

To understand student veterans, run a mile in their boots. New Jersey community college officials and high school teachers, counselors and principals volunteered for a week of Marine training.

GED + job training = motivation

In Louisiana, undereducated and underemployed adults can train for skilled jobs while studying for a GED at a technical college. Most Work Ready U students are training for jobs in construction trades, welding or health care.

Some community colleges are helping veterans get college credits for skills they learned in the military, such as giving a combat engineer credit for construction management skills.

Veterans fight for in-state tuition

Veterans are having trouble using the GI Bill to pay the full cost at state colleges and universities. New rules say vets can collect up to $17,500 a year at private colleges but only the cost of in-state tuition at public institutions.  With frequent moves required by military service, some vets can’t qualify as in-state students.

Veterans go to college, but do they graduate?

Nearly a million veterans have enrolled in college using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, but nobody knows how many graduate and find jobs. 

Thanks to generous federal aid and the recession, more older students are enrolling in Florida community colleges, but
many require remedial classes.Eighty percent of students 20 and older and 90 percent of those 35 an older require remedial math. Dropout rates are high.

Community colleges are batting .300

Community colleges graduate or transfer about 30 percent of students. Batting .300 is fine in baseball. Can community colleges do better?

Colleges are adding veterans’ programs — except for community colleges, which attract the most GI Bill users.

Colleges compete for vets — and benefits

Uncle Sam wants veterans to sign up for college! And colleges and universities are trying to create “veterans-friendly” programs to attract ex-GIs — and billions of dollars in post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

Digital badge winners include Scout app

Among the winning badge ideas at the Digital Media and Learning Competition is My Girl Scout Sash is an App:

My Girl Scout Sash on MentorMob brings the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and career development badge program to a digital media learning platform for girls, ages 5-17, with a focus on middle school and high school. Through collaboration with Motorola Mobility Foundation and MentorMob, teams of girls will create apps, demonstrating and sharing the knowledge gained and badge proficiencies.

Digital badges”can be used to help people learn; demonstrate their skills and knowledge; unlock job, educational and civic opportunities; and open new pipelines to talent,” says the MacArthur Foundation, which is working with Mozilla and HASTAC on the idea.

Other winners include BuzzMath which will award badges for mastery of Common Core math concepts, BadgesWork for Vets, which will help veterans show the skills they’ve learned in the military,  and Carnegie Mellon’s Computer Science Student Network, “an online learning environment where students, teachers, and hobbyists can earn badges and certifications as they play with, compete in, and learn about computer science and STEM-related topics.”

 

Veterans-only classes close, but others open

Veterans-only college classes have been dropped at places that developed the model due to low demand, tricky logistics and fears of isolating vets. But others are adding special classes for veterans.

People between 35 and 49 are piling up student debt faster than any other age group. Mid-career training doesn’t always pay off. Do the math before borrowing, say financial advisors.

Not graduating is ‘the new normal’

The “new normal” community college student is a part-timer with a job, possibly a family to support and low odds of completing a degree.  What can colleges do to help more students succeed?

Military veterans bring global experience, maturity and esprit de corps to the classroom, writes a college history instructor.