Negotiations are underway on “gainful employment” regulations proposed by the U.S. Education Department, reports Community College Times.
While the regulations are expected to hit hardest at for-profit career colleges, vocational programs at community colleges also will be affected. Colleges must gain federal approval for some new programs or students won’t be able to get federal aid.
“Whatever the regs are, you’ve got to keep them simple, you’ve got to keep them affordable,” said negotiator Richard Heath, financial aid director at Anne Arundel Community College (Maryland).
“Any time I add a new program, it is vetted to death,” Heath said.
Unnecessary layers drag out the time to create new programs that local businesses need, and they are expensive, Heath said. They can add months to the approval process and tens of thousands of dollars in costs.
Negotiators will meet again Oct. 21 to 23. If they don’t reach a unanimous consensus on the rules, the department can propose its own final version.
Kevin Jensen, financial aid director at the College of Western Idaho, also was one of the 14 negotiators. Three alternates from community colleges are: Rhonda Mohr, student financial aid specialist at the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office; Glen Gabert, president of Hudson County Community College (New Jersey); and Sandra Kinney, vice president of institutional research and planning at the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.
Community colleges “took the greatest hit” in 2010 as higher education struggled to recover from recession, concludes the Delta Cost Project in College Spending in a Turbulent Decade.
All colleges and universities are trying to serve more students with less money, the report found. “As funding failed to keep pace with historic increases in enrollment, educational spending per student plummeted to its lowest level in a decade.”
Community colleges suffered the greatest financial hardships.
Historic enrollment increases, combined with sharp losses in per-student revenues from state appropriations and meager increases in net tuition revenue, resulted in significant cuts to academic spending per full-time equivalent (FTE) student. Community colleges concluded the decade spending less per student than they had ten years earlier.
State universities were able to preserve spending on instruction and student services, while private four-year institutions implemented widespread cuts, the report found. Although students covered a larger portion of educational costs, sharp tuition increases were not enough to offset lost revenues.
Funding for community colleges continued to fall further behind other public institutions. . . They were the only public institutions at which average total operating revenues per FTE student declined in 2010 and also were lower than a decade earlier. Community colleges suffered the deepest cuts in state and local appropriations per student in 2010, with funding reduced by approximately $1,000 per student; however, they also limited the new money coming from net tuition revenue more than did other types of public institutions.
Efforts to keep community colleges accessible and affordable while accommodating more than 40 percent of new higher education students—often the most economically or academically disadvantaged—have significantly eroded the resources they have to devote to each student.
The growth in less costly, shorter-term certificate programs cut the cost of completion in community colleges from 2000 to 2010.
Community colleges are Where the Workers Come From, according to The Street.
The dizzying increase in college tuition has opened a debate about whether higher education really pays off. What’s not debatable is that many jobs do require specialized training beyond a high school degree. And that training includes technical skills that aren’t taught at Harvard or Yale, such as how to process paperwork at a busy medical practice, or troubleshoot a robotic arm on an automated assembly line.
As many as 1 million jobs are going unfilled for lack of qualified applicants, estimate economists at the New York branch of the Fed.
President Obama proposed an $8 billion Community College to Career Fund in his 2013 budget to held colleges partner with employers on job training, though it’s not clear the funding will get through Congress.
Community Colleges Offer Cheaper Alternative to Grad School, suggests U.S. News. I think the idea is that four-year graduates who need to switch careers can learn new skills at a community college, rather than investing time and money for a graduate degree. It’s not an uncommon strategy for people with bachelor’s degrees in Canada.