Davis Jenkins and Thomas Bailey, both from the Community College Research Center housed at Columbia University, focus in this Inside Higher Ed article on how community colleges need to improve to meet President Obama’s goal for five million more two-year graduates by 2020. Instead of just worrying about increased enrollment, the authors say retention and graduation rates are vital–only 35% of CC entrants get a certificate or degree within six years.
How can community colleges change for the better? Jenkins and Bailey offer four steps:
- Strengthen the pipeline to college
- Provide clearer guidelines and pathways to college
- Explore ways to accelerate college attainment, particularly by students needing remediation
- Align programs and services to support student success.
That final step can be achieved in part by ensuring programs are demand-driven. This recent EMSI paper delves deeper into program evaluation.