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ERIC Number: ED540174
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Mobility Makers
Hilliard, Tom
Center for an Urban Future
Community colleges have long been the overlooked stepchildren of the educational system. But because of profound structural changes in the U.S. economy over the past several years, community colleges have become increasingly critical to the nation's economic competitiveness and the key platform for moving low-income people into the middle class. Unfortunately, community colleges are not yet delivering on all their potential. Far too few people who enroll at community colleges, both in New York City and across the country, end up graduating or moving on to earn a bachelor's degree. In New York City, 28 percent of community college students graduate with an associate's or bachelor's degree within six years of enrolling. The national average for community college graduation after six years is even lower, at 26 percent. There are understandable reasons why graduation rates have been low. To begin with, community colleges are open access institutions, and they accept whoever applies. A significant number of the students already face steep hurdles when they enter. On top of this, community colleges receive less than half the funding per student received by four-year colleges and universities, and state funding of the City University of New York (CUNY) community college system has dropped by more than one-quarter over the past decade. Nevertheless, community colleges could and should be doing much better. As the researchers show in this report, low graduation rates exact steep costs to individuals, businesses, the economy and taxpayers. Increasing the number of community college students who graduate will not only make it easier for employers to find qualified workers, it will dramatically raise the employment prospects of graduates and put them on a career track with significantly higher earning potential. Increasing the graduation rate permanently would have powerful long-term value for the city's economy. This report aims to document why raising the rate at which individuals are graduating from community colleges in New York City--and getting more from the public's already significant investment in community colleges--is of critical importance from a fiscal, economic and social perspective. The study details the cost of high community college drop-out rates and the return on investment that would result from raising graduation rates even by a small amount. (Contains 3 tables, 10 charts, and 32 endnotes.)
Center for an Urban Future. 120 Wall Street 20th Floor, New York, NY 10005. Tel: 212-479-3341; Fax: 212-344-6457; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: IBM International Foundation
Authoring Institution: Center for an Urban Future
Identifiers - Location: New York