Report roundup

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

A monthly roundup of reports of interest to the community college sector.

Here are three reports to check out this month.

  1. Overall, college students agree that their institutions have done a good job during the pandemic in communicating information about a range of issues, from courses and student aid, to emergency financial help, according to a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics. The report has the first national estimates of the impact of Covid in spring 2020 on postsecondary students. It looks at disruptions to student enrollment, housing and finances, as well as how institutions supported and informed students on these and other areas. Nearly 70% (69.8%) of public two-year college students and 69% of public four-year students said their institutions provided helpful communication on accessing their coursework. Two-year college students also said their colleges were helpful in communicating information about degree program progress (56.3%), financial aid (48.8%) and employment at the institution (37.2%), including federal work-study and assistantships.
  2. This summer, the Cengage Group surveyed 1,622 people – a mix of currently enrolled college students (40%), high school graduates (21%) and those who dropped out of college (39%) – about the obstacles they face enrolling in and completing college. About half (49%) of respondents say cost of living or cost of tuition and course materials are the biggest barriers to education. When looking just at the cost of tuition, three out of five respondents were worried about having enough money to pay for school. Though enrolled college students may have found a way to pay for tuition, the cost of course materials and food were cause for concern, and 20% were unsure of how they’d pay for the next term. Breaking it down further, a quarter of two-year college students (25%) are unsure how they will pay for their next term. Additionally, almost 30% of those who dropped out said that past student debt forgiveness would impact their returning to school.
  3. Ithaka S+R surveyed 321 community college library directors to get a snapshot of services provided, the impact of Covid and challenges faced in making decisions and navigating change. Eighty percent believe that their library contributes significantly toward increasing student learning, and 56% believe it contributes significantly to helping students develop a sense of community. That’s not necessarily how their contributions are viewed by others. For instance, when asked how important it is that the college library helps students develop research, critical analysis and information literacy skills, 71% of library leaders said “extremely important.” But in the 2019 survey of chief academic officers and student affairs officers, only 46% said the same about the college library’s function.
AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.