There’s no doubt that it’s a tough time for families pondering the value of a college degree.
On the one hand, there’s pitched debate over rising tuition costs and student debt. On the other, labor forecasts predict that by 2018, nearly two-thirds of American jobs will require a postsecondary certificate or degree.
Enter community colleges. They provide technical programs for emerging careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics that are comparable to — if not better than — some of their four-year counterparts, at a fraction of the cost. Often, they’re the launchpad to baccalaureate programs for people without the time, money or academic skills to jump into a four-year program straight out of high school.
And as part of the American Association of Community Colleges’ 21st Century Initiative, they’re updating their missions and nimbly shifting to serve the economy of the future.
Here are some of the ways they’re facing problems that weigh down all of higher education — and succeeding.
Developmental education: Preparing students for college
It was a problem at City University of New York just as it was at most schools: Students failed college classes for which they weren’t prepared, or spent years working through remedial courses that ate into their financial aid before they even started earning credits toward a degree. <Read more.>