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ERIC Number: EJ1155087
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
The Open Access Dilemma
Pratt, Timothy
Education Next, v17 n4 p35-41 Fall 2017
Community colleges, with their commitment to open access, admit millions of students each year who are unprepared for college-level work, even though they have earned a high-school diploma. For decades the schools had a built-in base of students attracted to their open doors and relative affordability. But enrollment at public two-year college has dropped by about 10 percent nationwide in recent years. Decreases in state funding and widespread tuition increases have hit a stagnating middle class. And a new emphasis on outcomes-based funding is putting pressure on public colleges in some states to show results. A hard look at outcomes raises questions about the mission and promise of community colleges, not to mention the meaning of a high-school degree. Would funding community colleges based on outcomes lead them to serve students better? Or would they instead water down standards or ignore students most in need of a leg up? At what point does a commitment to open access become a license to enroll students unlikely to succeed? Is "college for everyone" really college at all? To begin addressing these questions, this article examines non-selective admission policies, the misalignment between graduation standards at the K-12 level and the definition of "college readiness" at community colleges, and non-traditional students and college placement tests. It goes on to discuss reforms at the high school level in some states, community colleges that are experimenting with how they assess and deliver remedial course work, and whether community college is the right path for students or adults with weak academic skills.
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York; North Carolina; California
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A