N.J. makes ‘free’ community college program permanent as Murphy signs law

A program that offers thousands of low- and moderate-income students in New Jersey the opportunity to get a tuition-free education at the state’s community colleges is now permanent under a law Gov. Phil Murphy signed Friday. Currently, only students from households earning earning $65,000 or less qualify for the program, which has gone up from $45,000 under Murphy’s first state budget in 2018.

Growing the SEPI Community and Expanding Access to Education Pathways

Illinois, like many other states, faces a teacher shortage that is particularly acute in rural and urban classrooms. The state’s teaching ranks also lack needed diversity, as the teacher workforce is 85-percent white, even as mounting research shows students of color benefit from having teachers of color. To address these challenges, the Illinois P-20 Council, The Joyce Foundation, and Education Systems Center at NIU (EdSystems) partnered in May 2019 to launch Scaling Education Pathways in Illinois (SEPI).

Expanding Supports for College and Career Readiness: State Adoption of Transitional English Course Parameters, Competencies, and Policies

Enacted in 2016, the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) Act includes a set of strategies to support Illinois students in their transition from high school to postsecondary education, workforce training, and careers. A significant barrier to postsecondary persistence and completion is remedial education. Students enrolling in remedial courses complete fewer courses than non-remedial peers and have substantially lower outcomes related to graduation rate, advancement rate, and credit accumulation. While the State has established a statewide implementation system for Transitional Math, over 20% of Illinois high school graduates entering the State’s community college system also require remedial English courses in reading and communications courses.

The Rich Get Richer…

The more selective colleges and universities have had a very good year in admissions, according to new data from the Common Application. Not only do they have more applicants, but they are enjoying substantial increases for minority, first-generation and low-income applicants as well. The figures come from the Common App’s new data, which are through March 1. It may seem late in the year to be releasing application totals, because many colleges no longer accept applications after Jan. 15 or Feb. 1 or Feb. 15. But 617 out of the 917 four-year members of the Common App are still accepting applications this year and many will go on doing so right up until students enroll. (All of the data only compare colleges that were Common App members last year and this year.)

Spring Enrollment Keeps Slipping

Even as colleges and universities expanded in-person instruction this spring, undergraduate enrollment continued to tumble. Enrollment across all institution types fell by 2.9 percent this term compared with last spring, according to new preliminary data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. These early numbers reveal similar declines to fall 2020, when enrollment fell by 3.3 percent year over year across the board.

IVCC partnering with other institutions to address teacher shortage

Illinois Valley Community College is partnering with Illinois State University and four community colleges to address the teacher shortage, board members learned Thursday. IVCC, Heartland, Spoon River, Carl Sandburg, and Illinois Central will be part of ISU’s “CommuniTeach: Community Partner Pathway Program” cultivating local talent to become teachers who return to their communities. Next fall, CommuniTeach students begin community college courses. ISU classes start in fall 2022. The first graduates will be teaching in 2025.