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ERIC Number: ED532581
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Apr
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 27
It's a Matter of Time: Low-Income Students and Community Colleges. AACC Policy Brief 2012-02PBL
Mullin, Christopher M.
American Association of Community Colleges (NJ1)
Time is a core unit of human capital. With only 24 hours in a day, the way people choose to spend their time is an indication of what they value and the constraints under which they operate. In the higher education context, time-to-degree is a key element of higher education analysis, particularly at a time of constrained resources and a growing emphasis on completion. It is generally thought, and is often true, that a shorter time-to-degree implies a more efficient or "better" higher education experience. However, this is not always the case, especially when we factor the needs and patterns of nontraditional students (who are now the norm in American higher education) into the equation. An example of outdated concepts and nomenclature can be found in the Student Right to Know completion rate calculation--150% of the "normal time" to complete a program. The operative reality at community colleges is that 2 years is not the time it takes most students to complete an associate degree. For example, when "normal time" is reframed from 2 to 4 years, Student Right to Know graduation rates double, and completion rates--inclusive of community college graduates and transfers--become greater than 45%. In this brief, the author examines considerations of time as they relate to investments by students and institutions. He concludes with perspectives of efficiency, as expressed by the role time has and should play in policymaking. Estimated Amounts for Income and Expenses Used in Figure 1 are appended. (Contains 2 tables, 1 figure and 3 notes.)
American Association of Community Colleges. One Dupont Circle NW Suite 410, Washington, DC 20015. Tel: 202-728-0200; Fax: 202-833-2467; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation
Authoring Institution: American Association of Community Colleges
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Pell Grant Program