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ERIC Number: ED542911
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 83
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Bridging the Higher Education Divide: Strengthening Community Colleges and Restoring the American Dream. The Report of The Century Foundation Task Force on Preventing Community Colleges from Becoming Separate and Unequal
Century Foundation
American community colleges stand at the confluence of four mighty rivers that are profoundly influencing all of American life. At a time of growing economic globalization, community colleges are a critical element in the strategy to address the skills and education gap to meet the emerging needs of industries in the new knowledge economy. In striving for the Obama administration's goal of raising postsecondary graduation rates to be first in the world by 2020--so that 60 percent of 25-34 year olds have a postsecondary credential--community colleges are expected to shoulder the bulk of the challenge. Yet, for reasons outlined in this paper, public community colleges, which serve some 11 million students and 44 percent of the U.S. college population, often are not equipped for the challenge. A central problem is that two-year colleges are asked to educate those students with the greatest needs, using the least funds, and in increasingly separate and unequal institutions. We need radical innovations that redesign institutions and provide necessary funding tied to performance. In order to make funding more equitable and to provide community colleges with the resources necessary to boost completion (and thereby raise overall efficiency), this paper recommends the following innovations: (1) Adopt state and federal "adequacy"-based funding in higher education akin to that used in primary and secondary education, combined with considerations of outcomes; (2) Establish greater transparency regarding public financial subsidies to higher education; (3) Encourage the growth of redesigned institutions that facilitate the connection between community colleges and four-year colleges; (4) Take concrete steps to facilitate community college transfer; (5) Encourage innovation in racially and economically inclusive community college honors programs; (6) Encourage innovation in early college programs that enhance community college diversity; (7) Prioritize funding of new programs for economically and racially isolated community colleges; and (8) Provide incentives for four-year institutions to engage in affirmative action for low-income students of all races. Appendix includes: "Limitations of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) on Evaluating Graduation Rates of Community College Students." (Contains 7 figures, 3 boxes and 117 notes.) [With background papers by Sandy Baum and Charles Kurose; Sara Goldrick-Rab and Peter Kinsley; Tatiana Melguizo and Holly Kosiewicz.]
Century Foundation. 41 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021. Tel: 212-535-4441; Fax: 212-879-9197; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Ford Foundation
Authoring Institution: The Century Foundation