70% Community College Drop Out Rate

70% of Community College Students Statewide Drop Out

The Headlines in The Register, Orange County California reads:  2 out of 3 Don’t Finish Community College.  This is a study on local students’ graduation rates and is found to mirror the pattern statewide and nationally.

According to Scott Martindale, Register Writer, college students intending to earn a degree either drop out or do not graduate within 6 years based on research from the above study.  This study examines how elusive college success remains for many local students.

That’s just one in four community college students that transferred to a 4 year university during the 6 year period studied and Latino students were less than half as likely as their white counterparts to transfer.

The study, released this week by the Campaign for College Opportunity coalition and the Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy at Sacramento State University, mirrors trends observed statewide and nationally.

Raul Rodriguez, chancellor of the Santa Ana-based Rancho Santiago Community College District, stated “We’ve known this for a long time.  Our students are very different from the stereotype of the college student.  They’re not all under 26, coming out of high school.  They stop for a variety of reasons and then come back to us at a future time.  They work, have families, don’t want to come out with a big debt.  Also, it’s very hard when a student comes to us 3 or 4 grade levels below college level and we have the job of bringing them up.   It seems they are doing “catch up” all the time and they get discouraged and a lot of them just give up.”

The study tracked 6,131 Orange County students who indicated upon enrollment in 2003-04 that they intended to earn a degree or certificate, finding that 6 years later, 68% of them hadn’t completed a degree and/or had dropped out.   Orange County fared only slightly better than California as a whole.

After 6 years, 70% of students statewide didn’t complete a degree or dropped out.  Community college officials emphasized that challenges are immense.  Unlike K-12 education, community colleges must allow almost anyone who walks through the doors to enroll.   “Open access is a valued part of the community college mission and there are no restrictions to enrollment.  All students are processed as if they will be full time students but some student don’t always have a pathway.  We are trying to balance access with success and find out where we can be the most successful in helping our students,”  according to Ms. Parham, a spokeswoman for the Costa Mesa-based Coast Community College District.

Only 14% of Orange County Latino students transferred to a 4 year university in a 6 year time span vs.

30% of the County’s white students for an average 24% transfer rate countywide, according to the study.   According to Genoveya, president of the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County, “in a county where over 34% of the population is Latino, it is unacceptable that the vast majority of degree-seeking Latino students are falling short of their career goals.  This study is a real call for action for those in the community who have the means, knowledge and ability to effect positive change for these students.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, California ranks 16th among U.S. states for its 3 year graduation rate.  That’s according to 2008 figures from the U.S. Department of Education. 

Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, the 6 year graduation rate is 62% nearly double the countywide average of 32 % and Amy Wheeler is not satisfied with that rate.  They are trying to improve that rate according to Wheeler.    She further states, “We really are trying to reiterate to our staff that whatever you do, keep student success in mind.”

Most Latino’s speak Spanish in the home and when they get into a classroom they are being taught in English.   English is not the easiest language to learn and it can be confusing for those who use English as a second language.  If we provided captionsverbatimpro services in all the classrooms each student could receive a complete verbatim printout in their computer in their own language or in English or both.   This service is incredible and can enhance the learning curve for all students who have language problems.  And, all without students feeling they are different, slow learning or just simply language difficulties.   This service would not only keep student success in mind it would balance access with success for all students. 

For more information contact the writer:  smartindale@ocregister.com or 949 454 7394.

Bobbi Barras

April 20, 2011

 
 
 

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