Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

August 23, 2007

Community colleges: the good and the bad

Filed under: community colleges — texased @ 6:54 pm

Carlos Guerra is my favorite Express-News columnist but talk about cherry-picking data.

MySA.com: Carlos Guerra

Studies show that students who start out in community colleges and go on to earn BAs tend to graduate at higher rates — and with higher grades — than students who start at universities. But about four of five new community college enrollees also need help — and sometimes, a lot of it — to make them “college ready.”

I’ve no doubt that the students who do go on to earn BA’s graduate at a higher rate since they have shown incredible perseverance by making it out of the community college system. The latest figures from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board lists the six year graduation rate for Bachelors in fiscal year 2005 as follows:

Northwest Vista: 16.7%

Palo Alto: 9.6%

San Antonio College: 9.9%

St. Philip’s: 4.9%

These numbers are nothing to write home about. Ultimately, they should be used to demonstrate the need to put more resources into our community college system and make the transition from two year colleges to four year institutions much more seamless.

The Washington Monthly has created a ranking of community colleges along with it’s other college rankings. Five Texas colleges make the list including Northwest Vista College. We just need to figure out how to help more students at community colleges make a successful transition to a four year university. I don’t know exactly what sort of initiatives that might require but I’m pretty sure cutting state funding for community college employee health benefits isn’t one of them.

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