Community College students have an expectation to graduate with an Associates Degree and transfer after two years, However, this expectation most commonly flies far from reality.
According to usnews.com, the Pierce College community has struggled in transferring to a university in a reasonable amount of time, with a mere 37 percent of students graduating in two years.
This problem is not rooted only in Pierce College but all across the golden state’s vast number of community colleges.
“California’s community colleges educate more than two million students. In 2016 just 48 percent of students who enrolled at a California community college left with a degree, certificate, or transferred after six years,” according to a study conducted by edsource.org.
This is a serious issue as students graduating from high school, or adults wanting to obtain their degrees, attend community college as it has become a cheaper and far more readily available educational source.
However, hope isn’t all lost. Schools like East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program have stepped in trying to combat this widespread issue as they have a 93.4 percent two year graduation rate.
East San Gabriel Valley Occupational Program accredits their Regional Occupational Program (ROP) that connects students to real businesses and companies where students can get hands on training for their desired degree in class.
The benefits of the ROP program include, “ROP helps reduce the unemployment rate through training and job placement efforts. The program generates more wage earners and increases the number of taxpayers directly supporting their local community. Workbound and collegebound ROP students are able to explore careers (Training in 27 career fields offered) and ROP alumni can earn a living while pursuing additional/higher education,” according to the programs official website, www.tvrop.org.
Pierce should incorporate these programs into the curriculum because it gives students an initiative to further their education knowing jobs will be available once you graduate.
The New York Times also attempted to tackle this epidemic of how to fix the graduation rate. They used N.Y.’s recently initiated Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), which mirrored what the ROP programs do for Calif. Community Colleges. Both programs provide job training and counseling for specific majors for junior college students.
“The program, Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), nearly doubled the share of students graduating within three years (to 40 percent from 22 percent). ASAP also increased the share enrolling in a four-year college (to 25 percent from 17 percent), so it may also, in time, increase the share earning a bachelor’s degree,” according to a New York Times article.
One problem Pierce may run into if they were to attempt to update there course curriculum would be the costs of the program itself. Although, if Pierce were to spend the very little money they had in funding on incorporating a few ROP programs it could benefit the school in the long run as it has been proven to increase enrollment rates and the increased number of enrollment warrants more funding from the state.
Community Colleges across N.Y. have installed this program and it has proven as a viable solution to fixing graduation rates. Pierce being located in the center of San Fernando Valley, one of the highest populated business areas in the state, can offer students a variety of career programs and thus, improving graduation rates altogether.