The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

How City College stacks up

Vienna J. Montague | Staff Writer | [email protected]

Annual scorecard highlights enrollment and degree completion

California community college enrollment rates are rising for the first time since the recession, according to the 2013–2014 Student Success Scorecard, but while City College is reporting lower enrollment rates, the college has a higher rate of completion for degrees.

The Student Success Scorecard, released annually by the California Community College Chancellor’s office, measures student success through enrollment rates, graduation rates and the availability of student resources at community colleges in the state.

City College President Kathryn E. Jeffery said enrollment rates at City College have actually wavered, partly because the school had to reduce the number of sections available during the recession because of limited funding. But she said that serving fewer students is actually more helpful for those who attend.

“The funding resources for the college enabled us to offer classes at a certain level,” Jeffery said. “Traditionally at City we’ve offered classes above that level, which means for the students we were being paid to serve we were serving well over that [number], which then meant that our resources were being really stretched.”

Total enrollment at all California community colleges increased this year to record levels after four years of what state community college Chancellor Brice W. Harris described in a statement as “stunning declines.”

According to the scorecard, the number of students statewide dropped from 2,667,733 in the 2008–2009 school year to2,079,559 in 2012–2013. The 2013–2014 school year saw a small increase in students, up to 2,094,910 students. Community colleges across the state also awarded 40 percent more certificates and degrees compared to four years ago, according to the scorecard, and although completion rates for community
colleges have declined slightly to 70 percent, the report describes this as a relatively steady figure.

According to the president’s office, despite having fewer students, City College is actually issuing more awards than in previous years. Each
year since 2009 the number of certificates and degrees earned has

Last year 2,145 degrees or certificates were awarded, while in 2013 the college issued 2,015, and in 2012 some 1,905 were given. In 2009–2010, only 1,598 degrees or certificates were awarded.

City College issued more awards for degrees than for certificates, which have fluctuated throughout the year, according to Marybeth Buechner, dean of Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness.

Buechner said the number of students completing certificates is likely based on
the job market.

“Our real estate majors dropped from the depression. Surprise, surprise,” Buechner said. “The real estate market tanked. So I think it’s a job market influence on some of this. Of course, I’m not an expert.”
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According the scorecard, the community college system has plans in the works to increase graduation rates. It set a goal in August to increase the number of students earning certificates, degrees or transferring to four-year institutions by 227,247 students over the next 10 incoming freshman classes.

The steps to achieve this goal will include creating new partnerships between community colleges and area law schools, UCs and CSUs, the scorecard indicated.

Michael Poindexter, City College vice president for student affairs, said the school has started implementing new partnerships
to help reach these goals.

“We have new recruitment materials going out into the high schools and the community,” Poindexter said. “We’re working with the elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. We’re working to keep them in the educational pipeline.”

Poindexter said that elementary schools are actually a high priority for recruitment.

“We lose the majority of students that would go to college in third grade,” Poindexter said, “We lose hundreds of students at that grade who’ve been in the education system and say it’s not for them.”

Buechner said that City College has many other programs available to help college students, from the 2+2+3 program, which gives students a streamlined education from community college to a UC and on to law school, to general transfer degrees.

Jeffery said another way City College intends to keep its student body numbers high is through a strong online presence.

According to Jeffery, some of the college’s resources include access to an online education plan, priority registration, and reminders for students through 411 for Success, an online prompt that lets students know when crucial dates are approaching and how to get help for certain

“A lot of times students just don’t know these things,” Jeffery said. “This 411 for Success online support service was developed and is monitored by one of our counselors.”

According to Jeffery, the college has made progress in student success, support and equity, although it is not perfect.

“We’re really trying to look at services and support that help every student,” Jeffery said. “We’re on the right track.”

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