Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Study shows community colleges are failing students

A study by the Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy at Cal State Sacramento claims 70 percent of students attending California’s community colleges did not manage to attain degrees or transfer to four-year universities within six years, concluding that the state’s junior colleges are “failing” its students.

ASCC Vice President Luis Ong says not true.

Ong speculates that the results are too general to apply to any one campus, especially Cerritos College.

“I don’t think we should categorize ourselves in this, because we’re better than this,” he said.

“This is data from every community college, and how many do we have here in California?”

Authors of the study, Colleen Moore and Nancy Shullock, collected data by tracking 250,000 students from 2003 to 2009, compared to the 2.8 million students currently enrolled in the state’s 112 community colleges

Moore and Shullock have come to a dangerous conclusion regarding California’s junior colleges.

Students are not obtaining the degrees necessary to maintain the state’s economic competitiveness, especially Latino students who are estimated to make up 50% of the working-age population by 2040.

Data collected by California’s Postsecondary Education Commission show that 807 Cerritos College students transferred to Cal States during the 2008-’09 school year, as opposed to 832 students during the 2007-’08 school year.

The PEC also observed that 158 Cerritos students transferred to a University of California during 2008-’09, 11 more than the previous academic year.

Marvelina Barcelo, Transfer Center co-coordinator and iFALCON counseling coordinator, explains that a dip in transfers does not necessarily mean that students are unprepared, rather, unaware.

“The problem is students are not coming soon enough.  Sometimes we get students in the spring that would have been ready to transfer but it’s way too late to apply, so they’re forced to wait another year to transfer.”

In an effort coined “transfer push,” Barcelo and the other Transfer Center counselors are working on increasing transfer rates by notifying students early on about the process.

The Transfer Center’s latest project is getting instructors involved in the effort by including a “T” as an indicator on class rosters next to names of students who are already eligible, or close to being eligible to transfer.

Instructors, like English professor Steve Clifford, are encouraged to reach out to students and discuss their educational goals.

“I think this study and the research behind it can actually empower students to think: here’s the trend. Do I fit in that trend or am I going to find a way to buck that trend?”

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Rebeca Vega, Staff Writer
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Study shows community colleges are failing students