Most community college students never complete a credential because they never enter a college-level program, says Davis Jenkins, a senior researcher at the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, in an interview with The Hechinger Report.
We have to think about how to take students without clear goals and knowledge of college and guide them to enter programs that are well-structured and lead to something. A key thing that our research — and other research — points to is that most students who enter community colleges don’t even get into a program, either because they are stuck in remedial education or they drop out. Those who enter a coherent program early on [like marketing, nursing or criminal justice] do better. You have to provide a clear pathway built into the curriculum … you have to lay out the pathways. The big issue is incentives and support. Community colleges should require student-success courses.
Many students aren’t able to “navigate themselves through college,” Jenkins says.
For-profit two-year career colleges enroll students in the classes that will lead to a certificate or degree, with no electives and no need for students to figure out the pathway for themselves. Graduation rates are much higher than rates at community colleges.