ERIC Number: ED388345
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Oct-16
The Community College Open-Door Philosophy: What Negative Outcomes Have Developed?
One of the most important elements of the community college is the open enrollment policy, providing students who may have performed poorly in high school with a fresh start. Serving academically underprepared students is an important objective of community colleges, but the practice is not without pitfalls. Negative outcomes of the open enrollment policy include: (1) enrichment courses offered for credit are being used in place of academic courses, resulting in increased retention and student satisfaction, but not in mastery of academic skills; (2) some students enroll primarily to collect unemployment benefits, attracting students with financial problems and/or a lack of direction who never complete their academic programs; (3) an academically-underdeveloped student base may result in a "watering down" of instruction which can later result in transfer shock; (4) secondary schools expect community colleges to assume too much responsibility for teaching academic fundamentals, while student skills are at an all-time low despite higher high school grade point averages; (5) underprepared students mean extended orientation courses of larger size, shorter durations, with less faculty training; and (6) the open door policy is severely threatened by federal and state funding cuts. Rather than abolishing the open-door system, colleges should take steps to address these issues, including improving communication with secondary schools to help them meet college scholastic requirements, seeking new sources of revenue, and controlling enrollment in enrichment and learning skills courses. (Contains 31 references.) (KP)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A