If bachelors degree elusive, associate degree is fallback

By STEPHEN INGBER

Capital News Service

LANSING – A new agreement between Grand Valley State University and Kalamazoo Valley Community College will make it easier for four-year students to obtain an associate degree.

Reverse transfer allows students who do not complete a four-year degree to receive an associate degree for their completed credits at local institutions.

“There is such high value in a student having an associate degree,” said Olin Joynton, president of Alpena Community College. “When a student transfers to a four-year university and is not able to complete that degree, reverse transfer allows them evidence of completion of a degree.”

Alpena currently has agreements with Ferris State University, Lake Superior State University and others.

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Veterans would get break in community college tuition

By STEPHEN INGBER

Capital News Service

LANSING – A constitutional amendment that would give all service members and veterans in-district community college tuition regardless of where they live could be on the ballot in 2014.

With thousands of returning service members from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, many are accessing educational benefits from the federal government.

The state constitutional amendment would provide returning veterans with more affordable college options, according to a legislative analysis.

But opponents say the amendment would hurt colleges by reducing tuition that comes from the federal government not students.

According to the College Board, the average tuition rate nationally in 2013 for a two-year institution is $3,131.

Michigan students on average pay $85 a credit hour for in-district tuition versus $140 an hour for out-of-district tuition, according to the Michigan Community College Association.

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Community colleges seek ways to better prepare students

By LACEE SHEPARD

Capital News Service

LANSING – Almost half of students entering community college find themselves unprepared, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, and new strategies are being formed to better equip students for success.

Forty-two percent of students were not ready for the regular courses, said GAO, an investigatory arm of Congress. As a result, they were required to take developmental classes.

There are multiple ways to test college readiness, said Mike Hansen, president of Michigan Community College Association.

Typically the ACT test is used to measure knowledge, and many community colleges are finding a large majority of their students are not “college ready” in most subject areas, he said.

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Community colleges vie for ‘pathways’ grants

By LAUREN GENTILE

Capital News Service

LANSING – Grand Rapids Community College hopes to be awarded a grant to improve career pathways for adult learners through counseling before and after enrollment.

“This grant will help us fill some gaps we have in programs and help us possibly make some previous work experience transfer into credit,” said George Waite, director of employee training at the college.

The Pathways to Credentials grant would be administered by the Michigan Community College Association’s Center for Student Success and funded by the Kresge Foundation.
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Community colleges, manufacturers team up to fill middle-skill jobs

By YANJIE WANG

Capital News Service

LANSING– With the state’s manufacturing industry facing a talent crisis, the Michigan Manufacturers Association and the Michigan Community College Association are collaborating to meet the demand for middle-skill workers.

As technology advances, a lot of jobs require people with the right skills, said Delaney McKinley, director of human resource policy for the Manufacturers Association.

And the shortage could get worse as the workforce ages and skilled workers retire, according to the association.
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Community colleges work to facilitate developmental education

By ANJANA SCHROEDER

Capital News Service

LANSING – About 60 percent of students who show up at a community college need at least one developmental course in math, English or reading, according to Michigan Community College Association President Michael Hansen.

Hansen said, “A large percentage of those students – if they make it out of their developmental education sequence – their chances for actually completing a degree are much lower than the students that don’t get placed in.”

And Jenny Schanker, associate director of the Michigan Center for Student Success, said a strategy community colleges are using to alleviate that problem is communication with their K-12 partners.
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Community colleges boost out-of-state enrollments, revenue

By SILU GUO

Capital News Service

LANSING – Community colleges in Michigan are enrolling more out-of-state students and international students, a trend that may add dollars to their budgets.

Among 28 community colleges, 21 have an out-of-state and international tuition rate twice as high as in-district tuition, according to the Michigan Community College Association.

Courtesy of Michigan Community College Association

For example, tuition at Lansing Community College this fall is $81 per credit hour for in-district students, $162 for out-of-district students and $243 for out-of-state and international students.
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Community colleges pushing for student success

By CELESTE BOTT

Capital News Service

LANSING – Community colleges across the state are taking steps to increase involvement in each individual student’s education, including Macomb, Jackson, Lake Michigan, North Central and Grand Rapids community colleges.

They’re developing new education and career planning programs as well as offering a wider range of advising, tutoring and financial support services.

According to Michael Hansen, president of the Michigan Community College Association, those steps are being taken to change the reputation of community colleges from a last resort to a viable alternative to more expensive and less personal four-year universities.
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Community college network to promote affordability

By LAUREN GENTILE

Capital News Service

LANSING – Community colleges may find themselves becoming a branded network within the next year to polish their image and show the public they are an affordable option for higher education.

“We are working on making the 28 individualized colleges more of a state system and able to help one another promote each other,” said Michael Hansen, president of the Michigan Community College Association, said.

Hansen said branding will be more than a logo. It will be a “new community college network.”
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Partnerships help students earn two degrees

By LAUREN GENTILE

Capital News Service

LANSING – Many students are finding a new way to get a four-year degree for a lower cost through degree completion programs at their local community colleges.

“Degree completion or transfer programs are run by a community college with the help of a four-year institution,” Michael Hansen, president of the Michigan Community College Association, said. “Most programs are either two or three years at the community college, then one at the university.”

Campuses all over the state have partnered with colleges to make “big university dreams” come true at an affordable rate, Hansen said.

“These programs allow students to pay the community college tuition rate, sometimes for up to 90 credits,” he said.
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