Here are three reports you should know about this month.
- Americans continue to have a strongly favorable view of community colleges, according to the Varying Degrees 2020 report from New America. The report says the public believes two-year institutions are a better value, more likely to contribute to a strong workforce and run more efficiently than other higher education institutions. Nearly three in four Americans agree that people with technical certificates and associate degrees will earn more than those without them. The share of people who hold that opinion rises to 87 percent for those with bachelor’s degrees and more than 90 percent for those with graduate degrees. In addition, approximately 89 percent of Americans believe public two-year colleges are worth the cost compared with just 64 percent who believe this to be true for public four-year colleges.
- Compared to undergraduates at four-year higher education institutions, community college students who shifted to remote learning this spring wanted to hear more from their college on academic advising, transfer services and tutoring, according to a new report from Ithaka S+R. The report, which is based on a survey of more than 15,000 students from 21 U.S. colleges and universities about their experience this spring in transitioning to remote learning. It included 2,354 students (15 percent) from four community colleges. Overall, the most significant challenges that all college students faced this spring due to the pandemic were often those they faced long before the pandemic, including balancing school, work and home responsibilities, the report says. Having to quickly pivot to remote learning and finding quiet space to complete coursework work added to the difficulty, it says.
- A report from Opportunity America calls on community colleges to focus more on workforce development to help displaced workers and others secure available jobs, especially as Americans have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.“The Indispensable Institution,” a 118-page report, says community college should be “reimagined” as the pandemic is likely to hasten changes in the workplace. “Institutions should put workforce skills — career preparation and midcareer upskilling — more at the center of their mission and culture,” the report says. It calls on colleges to teach academic and technical skills, employ work-based learning, engage employers more, integrate credit and noncredit education, and provide more academic and career guidance and supports to students.