Texans who earn a vocational certificate often earn more than associate-degree graduates in their first year in the workforce, concludes Higher Education Pays: The Initial Earnings of Graduates of Texas Public Colleges and Universities Who Are Working in Texas. Some workers with certificates earn more than $70,000 – $30,000 more than the median for graduates with bachelor’s degrees, concludes the Lumina-funded study by College Measures, a joint venture of the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the Matrix Knowledge Group.
The median starting pay for criminal justice/police science certificate holders is $48,192, double the compared with $24,298 for those with an academic associate’s degree. Some health-care certificates allowed graduates to earn $70,000. Other high-paying certificates included: construction engineering technology/technician, electrician, pipefitting, engineering, industrial technology, and instrumentation technician.
However, not all certificates lead to high-paying jobs. Recipients of two dozen certificate programs earned less than $13,000 in their first year on the job. Cosmetologists and nursing/patient care assistants usually earned low wages.
Technical associate’s degrees pay well: The median starting salary is more than $50,000. By contrast, an academic associate degree lead to median earnings of $24,298,
First-year earnings for bachelor’s degree holders range from about $25,000 (biology) to about $47,000 (accounting): The average is $39,725.
Community college graduates’ first-year salaries vary from one college to another.
Academic associate’s degrees range from about $10,000 (Ranger College) to more than $30,000 for graduates from the Trinity Campus of Tarrant County Junior College and from Central Texas Community College.
For graduates with technical degrees, the range is even greater, from about $20,000 for graduates of Clarendon College to more than $65,000 for graduates from seven community colleges: College of the Mainland Community College District, San Jacinto College South Campus, Tarrant County Junior College South Campus, Galveston College, El Centro College, Trinity Valley Community College and Weatherford College.
A national study and analyses in Tennessee and Virginia have found similar results: Technical certificates and associate degrees often pay better than non-technical bachelor’s degrees at the start of graduates’ careers.
Researchers say community colleges place too many students in dead-end remedial classes, reports Education Week.
“Remediation is the typical experience now,” especially at urban community colleges, said Judith Scott-Clayton, an assistant professor of economics and education at Teachers College and an author of an influential study that analyzed an urban and statewide community college system. Eighty percent of urban students and 70 percent of statewide students failed the math placement test. Yet a look at students’ high school transcripts showed a different story.
She found that 20 percent of students placed in remedial math and 25 percent of those placed in remedial reading were “severely misidentified,” meaning that not only could they have passed the entry college course in that subject, but they could have done so with a grade of B or better.
“The high school transcript info is basically more accurate for every group we look at,” Ms. Scott-Clayton said. “It’s true that it’s more subjective, but you are getting multiple measurements accumulated over time across several instructors. And it is capturing a broader array of skills, not just pure mechanical test-taking skills, but effort, persistence, motivation—things that we know matter a lot for college success.”
However, she found results uneven for specific racial groups: While fewer Hispanic students were placed in remedial courses using high school information, more young black men were pulled into remediation.
At several Texas community colleges requiring universal placement tests, 30 percent of students assigned to remediation were ”college ready” based on their scores on the ACT, SAT, and state test scores, a RAND researcher concluded. Texas will develop its own placement test aligned to state college readiness standards.
The new assessment includes diagnostic tests to identify specific problem areas in each subject, and the coordinating board will require colleges and universities to use those to plan more targeted remediation—for example, enrolling a student in a credit-bearing class while providing tutoring or an elective class to fill gaps in the student’s knowledge in that subject.
The diagnostic part of the exam will help students catch up quickly, so they don’t have “to take a 15-week course, go into this sinking hole, and rot for the next two years,” said Judith Loredo, the assistant commissioner for the P-16 initiative.
The push for a $10,000 bachelor’s degree has come to California, reports the Sacramento Bee.
With the cost of going to college already more than $30,000 a year at many California campuses, is it possible to earn a bachelor’s degree for just $10,000 – total?
Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Marysville, hopes so.
Borrowing an idea being promoted by Republican governors in Texas and Florida, the GOP assemblyman has introduced a bill that would create a pilot program in California for what he’s billing as a $10,000 bachelor’s degree.
Assembly Bill 51 calls for high schools, community colleges and California State University campuses to develop a low-cost degree path in STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) majors in Chico, Long Beach and Turlock.
High school students would earn college credit through Advanced Placement classes and dual enrollment in community college courses, Logue envisions. Community college students would be encouraged to enroll full time.
The $10,000 would include textbooks, but not room and board. Currently CSU students spend $5,472 a year on tuition and another $2,000 annually.
Average pay for adjuncts at colleges and universitiesis $2,987 for a three-credit course, reports The Adjunct Project, which is crowdsourcing information on salaries and working conditions. Community colleges pay much less than most four-year universities, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. “Adjuncts at 16 colleges reported earning less than $1,000.”
Joshua A. Boldt, a writing instructor in Georgia, is working with The Chronicle on a web site that sorts data by department, college, and region of the country.
At top research universities, adjuncts average $4,750 per three-credit course. Adjuncts at rural, medium-sized, two-year institutions, where pay is the lowest, average $1,808 per three-credit course.
In California, where faculty at two- and four-year public institutions are unionized, the average pay is $3,888 per course, according to data reported to the Adjunct Project as of last month. In Texas, by contrast, a state where unions are rare, the reported pay is lower: $2,805 per course.
Salaries are lower in the humanities: Adjuncts who teach English reported earning an average of $2,727 per course. At Houston Community College, adjuncts average $1,200 to $2,200 for a three-credit English course. The national average for adjuncts who teach engineering is $4,789 per course.
Only 22 percent of adjuncts reported that they were union members. Seventy percent don’t serve on governance committees.
“We’re not compensated when we do that,” Peter Feiden, an adjunct economics professor at Montgomery College, in Maryland, says of part-time faculty members there. He earns about $3,000 per course at Montgomery and about $6,000 per course at Catholic University of America, where he is also an adjunct.
Few adjuncts qualify for health insurance, retirement or other benefits.
About half of all faculty members — 70 percent at community colleges — are part-time adjuncts, estimates a 2010 survey by the American Federation of Teachers. Eighty percent of community college faculty teach part-time, according to the American Association of Community Colleges.
Universities keep turning out English PhDs even though there are fewer full-time jobs, writes Mark Bauerlein. That makes it easy to find people to teach freshman composition for low pay and no benefits.
Community college enrollment dipped by 2 percent in Texas this fall, reports the Houston Chronicle. The state’s improving economy may be drawing students back to the workforce. However, public universities and for-profit career colleges, saw slight enrollment gains.
“It was a bit of a wake-up call,” said Dominic Chavez, spokesman for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. “We’ve been going gangbusters on enrollment since 2000.”
Areas of the state undergoing an economic boom, such as with lucrative energy jobs near the Eagle Ford Shale natural gas and oil formation, are experiencing more substantial enrollment declines than other regions.
“It’s hard to keep a student in school to get their associate’s when they can go make $65,000 a year as a truck driver,” Chavez said.
Other factors are changes in federal Pell Grant rules: Students no longer can get “year-round” aid covering the summer semester. In addition, the state has fewer 18-year-olds. Finally, students are required now to be vaccinated against meningitis, a rule that’s discouraging some potential enrollees, according to a report by the Coordinating Board.
Did Texas Just Discover the Cure for Sky-High Tuition? asks Lara Seligman in The Atlantic. Not really, she concludes.
Texas universities are offering bachelor’s degrees for $10,000, including tuition, fees and textbooks, pushed by Gov. Rick Perry. Average tuition alone in Texas at a public four-year institution is $8,354 a year, close to the national average.
In the Lone Star State, 10 institutions have so far responded to the governor’s call with unique approaches, ranging from a five-year general-degree pipeline that combines high school, community college, and four-year university credits to a program that relies on competency-based assessments to enable students to complete a degree in organizational leadership in as little as 18 months.
Angelo State University has created a four-year interdisciplinary-studies program for an overall cost of $9,974.
The University of Texas (Arlington) will offer a low-cost bachelor’s to students who’ve earning dual-enrollment credits in high school and spent a year at a local community college.
Texas A&M University (San Antonio), has designed a new $10,000 degree in information technology and security which should help graduates find military and security jobs in the region.
Universities aren’t becoming more efficient, however, Seligman warns.
. . . most of these programs would only reduce the price tag for the student, not the cost to the institution of providing the degree. While select students might pay less overall, institutions must deliver the same faculty, facilities, time, and knowledge they provide to students paying full price for their degrees.
If universities don’t find ways to improve productivity, they’ll have trouble subsidizing low-cost degrees.
Community college students will be able to demonstrate competency to earn credits in self-paced classes, reports the Texas Tribune. It’s the Western Governors University model — but classes will include classroom instruction as well as online learning.
WGU Texas and three community colleges — Sinclair Community College in Ohio, Broward College in Florida and Texas’ own Austin Community College — have received a shared $12 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to develop curricula for key technology fields that allow students to move at their own pace in courses that aren’t purely internet based.
ACC hopes to offer self-paced computer programming courses as early as the fall of 2013. Students who earn an associate’s degree will be able to go on to WGU Texas for a bachelor’s degree.
(ACC President Richard Rhodes) said using “competency units” rather than credit hours would allow the school to be more responsive to the region’s workforce needs. If, for example, a company wanted employees to acquire certain skills quickly, they might be able to “invert the degree” by teaching the requested skills first and then later adding general education requirements necessary for an associate’s degree.
Computer science students could earn 11 industry certifications, an associate degree and a bachelor’s, says Mark David Milliron, chancellor of WGU Texas, a former Gates Foundation official.
The competency model could expand to other majors, Rhodes says.
Disabled students need more help transitioning to college and jobs, concludes a Government Accountability Office report. Students can apply for tutoring, job training and assistive technology help, but there’s little coordination between federal departments of Education, Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Social Security Administration, said the GAO. Once they leave high school, “it’s easy for these same young people to flounder in a maze of bureaucracy,” reports Ed Week.
McALLEN, Texas (AP) — When Gabriel Rios began classes at South Texas College last month, he was dealing with worries beyond those that confront most incoming college freshmen.
Rios, an 18-year-old student who is deaf, was nervous about the college-level curriculum and advanced reading and writing levels he’ll need when he pursues a certificate in auto mechanics. But Rios knows older friends who are deaf have struggled adjusting to college, a challenge that puts college graduation rates for deaf individuals far below the national average.
But Rios is among a dozen students with disabilities who will receive the support services they need at STC through a five-year program designed to help them graduate and later secure employment.
Project HIRE — or Helping Individuals Reach Employment — will provide 50 Texas high school students with college and career coaches who will provide an array of services, including on-campus counseling, life skills training and job placement.
Project HIRE is helping South Texas College evaluate and improve services for students with disabilities, said Paul Hernandez, the college’s dean of student support services. Currently, the college offers lecture notes, sign language interpretation and extended time for tests to 300 students who’ve self-identified as disabled.
Forty-five percent of four-year graduates studied — at least for awhile — at a community college, reports a National Student Clearinghouse study. Among students who reported taking community colleges classes, 24 percent were enrolled for one term, 16 percent for two and 19 percent for three or four terms. Twelve percent were enrolled for at least 10 terms.
A majority of transfers who earn a bachelor’s degrees finish within three years, notes Inside Higher Ed.
Of the 45 percent of four-year-degree completers in 2010-11 who had studied at a community college, 16 percent earned their bachelor’s degree within one year of enrolling at the four-year institution, and 36 percent had earned a degree within three years of enrolling. (Twenty-four percent earned degrees within 4 or 5 years, 11 percent within 6 or 7 years, and 7 percent in 10 or more years.)
In 13 states, a majority of four-year graduates reported taking community college classes. Texas, at 78 percent, led the pack with California, another state with many Hispanics, at 65 percent.
By contrast, starting at community college is uncommon in New England states: Only 22 percent of New Hampshire four-year graduates report taking community college classes and no New England state topped 30 percent.
Ten percent of undergraduate funding should be linked to student success rather than enrollment, says the Texas higher education agency. The proposal is highly controversial, reports the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
Too few Texas college students graduate on time and not enough major in high-demand careers, prompting the state’s higher education agency to once again propose a controversial merit-based funding system.
. . . The agency’s outcome-based funding model means universities would be judged on certain criteria, such as their six-year graduation rate and how many degrees they award in high-demand fields such as science, math, engineering and technology and teachers in those subjects. Funding for community colleges would in part be tied to students’ completion of associates degrees or certificates.
Statewide, 56 percent of full-time students seeking bachelor’s degrees graduate in six years. Full-time community college students average 4.7 years to earn associate’s degrees.
Too many college students need remedial coursework because “K through 12 in Texas is too easy,” said Raymund Paredes, the state’s commissioner of higher education, at a Corpus Christi luncheon.