Report roundup

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

Here are three reports to know about this month:

Drop for associate degrees, bump for certificates

Fewer students earned an associate degree than in any year in the past decade, according to a new report from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) Research Center. However, more students earned a certificate over the past year than in any of the last 10 years. The total number of people earning any undergraduate credential fell by -2.8%, or almost 100,000, according to the center’s annual report on undergraduate degree earners. The growth in certificate earners (6.2%, or 26,900 awards) is comprised entirely of those earning their first-ever award.

More info on pathways needed

More than 90% of students responding to the 2023 Community College Survey of Student Engagement indicate they picked a career path, but a significant number said information was lacking in certain vital areas. For example, community college students participating in the survey said their coursework had little information about the skills they needed for their chosen career (18%), and their college experience had contributed little, if at all, to their knowledge about in-demand jobs in their area (42%).

Because most community college students remain in their area after attaining a degree, students need information on the local job market. However, only 21% of polled two-year college students who had chosen a career path felt their college contributed to their knowledge about the local job market. Thirty-seven percent said their college “somewhat” prepared them, while 23% said “very little” and 19% said “not at all.”

Many Texas students struggle financially

Seven in 10 Texas community college students report experiencing financial difficulties or challenges while in college, with nearly one-quarter indicating they woundn’t be able to get $500 in cash or credit if faced with an emergency. That’s according to results from a new survey from Trellis Strategies of nearly 12,000 students from 35 Texas community colleges.

A majority of respondents reported running out of money at least once since the beginning of the year, with increases in inflation adding pressures to their monthly expenses. About 57% of participating Texas community college students said they worry about being able to pay their current monthly expenses. And 21% indicated that they didn’t know how they would pay for college the next semester, which was less than three months away at the time of the survey.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.