Community college students who show that they’re serious about reaching their educational goals would get priority registration for classes under a proposal coming up Monday before the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.

Under the recommendation, “students in good standing, who are making progress toward a certificate, degree, transfer, or career advancement objective” would be allowed to step to the front of the line for registration.

The plan was one of the 22 recommendations from the Student Success Task Force, a group of teachers, students, and administrators charged with boosting the number of students who graduate or transfer from community college.

Although California’s community colleges enroll about 2.6 million students, completion rates have been dismal.   Rates vary widely from college to college, but across the 112 campus system barely 54 percent of students who say they want to earn a degree or certificate, or transfer to a four-year college, ever succeed at their goals.  The figures are even lower for African American and Latino students.

The Task Force proposals are designed to provide incentives for students to stay the course, and priority enrollment could be a clincher these days when budget cuts have eliminated so many courses that there’s no sure bet of getting into required classes. On the flip side, the recommendation also makes it clear that priority enrollment can be fleeting for students who don’t stay in good standing either by landing in academic probation for two consecutive terms or by earning more than 100 units without enough of them going toward a degree.

Students who get this privilege would still have to fall in behind others who already have priority enrollment status, including active duty military and veterans, current and former foster youth, and students in the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services and Disabled Students Programs and Services.

There won’t be any final decision at Monday’s meeting; it’s just coming up for a first hearing before the Board of Governors.

 

 

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  1. kathryn Baron 7 years ago7 years ago

    Chris, The 54 percent refers to all students who either complete an AA degree, complete a certificate (such as welding or other skilled profession) and transfer to a four year school. In addition, the 54 percent also only includes students who have stated an educational goal. Also, if you look at 6-year success rates for degree or certificate-seeking students in community colleges, about 30 percent of them reach their goals. The figures for African American … Read More

    Chris,

    The 54 percent refers to all students who either complete an AA degree, complete a certificate (such as welding or other skilled profession) and transfer to a four year school.

    In addition, the 54 percent also only includes students who have stated an educational goal. Also, if you look at 6-year success rates for degree or certificate-seeking students in community colleges, about 30 percent of them reach their goals. The figures for African American and Latino students are 25% and 20% respectively.

  2. el 7 years ago7 years ago

    I think it's extremely appropriate to give priority registration to students who are working on a particular degree program and making successful progress. I would agree with Chris that there are many reasons that people who declare on a survey that they want to earn a degree do not succeed in a short timeframe, and that many of those reasons are outside the control of an individual community college, including issues like financial stress. I would … Read More

    I think it’s extremely appropriate to give priority registration to students who are working on a particular degree program and making successful progress.

    I would agree with Chris that there are many reasons that people who declare on a survey that they want to earn a degree do not succeed in a short timeframe, and that many of those reasons are outside the control of an individual community college, including issues like financial stress. I would emphasize that many people who do not complete a degree or certificate (regardless of their intent) nevertheless benefit from attending, both personally and financially, in ways that we don’t really track.

  3. Chris Stampolis 7 years ago7 years ago

    Kathryn, Your choice of the word "dismal" to describe community college student success is unfortunate. Of all graduates from California State University's 23 campuses, 54 percent transfer in from community colleges. That's a majority of all CSU recent grads! State policy should support priority registration for students who demonstrate progress towards their enrollment goals. Nonetheless, your negative characterization of degree/certificate/transfer attainment does not help the public to discern the current effectiveness of higher education in California. Unlike … Read More

    Kathryn,

    Your choice of the word “dismal” to describe community college student success is unfortunate.

    Of all graduates from California State University’s 23 campuses, 54 percent transfer in from community colleges. That’s a majority of all CSU recent grads!

    State policy should support priority registration for students who demonstrate progress towards their enrollment goals. Nonetheless, your negative characterization of degree/certificate/transfer attainment does not help the public to discern the current effectiveness of higher education in California.

    Unlike UC, CSU and private institutions, state law requires community colleges to offer admission to ALL adults who apply – including students who did not finish high school or who barely obtained a diploma. Anyone involved in education knows that a high school diploma is not in any way equal to a status of “college-ready.” Some students arrive at community college prepared for coursework applicable to an Associates’ Degree, a Bachelor’s Degree or a departmental certificate. However, many more students arrive underprepared for college-level work. Community colleges legally must admit every student who needs catch-up.

    The Student Success Task Force report expects the State to reward students who demonstrate diligence towards degree or certificate completion. However, Community Colleges still have to admit all who show up. Rather than disparage the success of our publicly-funded institutions, we should commend the outstanding achievement to date and expect even higher achievement from students in years to come.

    Degrees and certificates are earned by students as a result of many hundreds of hours of study. Not everyone will invest the necessary time to complete required coursework. College students are grown-ups who must choose to prioritize academics if they want the degree or certificate. Offering priority enrollment to those who prioritize their own education rewards success.

    Chris Stampolis
    Trustee, West Valley-Mission Community College District
    State Board Member, California Community College Trustees (CCCT)
    PO Box 270
    Santa Clara, CA 95052
    408-771-6858 * stampolis@aol.com