Study: California Community College Completion Rate Low

70% of students don’t complete an educational objective within 6 years; for blacks and Latinos, the number is 75%-80%.

A new study shows that only 30% of students who enroll at California’s Inland Empire Community Colleges will graduate. The news is even grimmer for transfer students: only 20% of them will go on to study in four-year settings, according to an article in The San Bernardino Sun.

The report, titled “Divided We Fail: Inland Empire Regional Profile,” was released last month by the Campaign for College Opportunity and the Institute for Higher Education, Leadership and Policy at Sacramento State University. It tracked more than 250,000 students who enrolled in community colleges throughout California and tracked their progress over the next 6 years.

According to COO’s Executive Director Michele Siqueiros, the results show that the community college system needs a lot of work:

“The results of this report show that we have a long way to go to achieve the levels of student success needed to create 1 million additional college graduates for California’s work force needs by 2025.”

Statistics for Inland Empire mirror those of the rest of the state. The report shows that 70% of students who enrolled in a California community College still had not completed a degree or a certificate or transferred to a four-year school after 6 years. When the data was broken down by race, it showed that the number of Latino and black students who failed to achieve any of the above objectives was between 75% and 80%.

Henry Shannon, President of Chaffey College, said that he wasn’t surprised by the findings. He pointed out that community college students deal with issues that are not as pressing or present for an average four-year school student, such as need for remedial coursework, maintaining a family, single motherhood and balancing schoolwork against full-time employment.

Some students like Jamela Wilson, who’s working on her associate’s degree from Mt. San Antonio College, do not see getting a degree as an option but “as a must”:

“My mom said, `Don’t leave there without getting a degree,’ It will look good that there is a degree under my belt when I transfer and want to get a job while I’m still at school.”


  1. Milan Moravec

    Students concerned about the dearth of investigations into the financial decision making of University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau.University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau, Provost Breslauer Must Go: clean sweep Cal. leadership (The author who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture & the way senior management work)

    Cal. Chancellor’s arrogance and poor judgment: pays ex Michigan governor $300,000 for lectures; recruits out of state $50,000 tuition students that displace qualified Californians; Latino enrollment drops while out of state jumps 2010; tuition to Return on Investment (ROI) drops below top 10; NCAA places basketball program on probation.

    Chancellor Birgeneau’s ($500,000 salary) fiscal track record is dismal indeed. He would like to blame the politicians, since they stopped giving him every dollar asked for, & the state legislators do share some responsibility for the financial crisis. But not in the sense he means.

    A competent chancellor would have been on top of identifying inefficiencies & then crafting a plan to fix them. Able oversight by the UC Board of Regents and the legislature would have required him to provide data on inefficiencies and on what steps he was taking to solve them during his 8 year reign. Instead, every year Birgeneau would request a budget increase, the timid regents would agree to it, and the legislature would provide. The hard questions were avoided by all concerned, & the problems just piled up to $150 million of inefficiencies….until there was no money left.

    It’s not that Birgeneau was unaware that there were, in fact, waste & inefficiencies during his 8 year reign. Faculty & staff raised issues with Birgeneau & Breslauer ($400,000 salary), but when they failed to see relevant action taken, they stopped. Finally, Birgeneau engaged some expensive ($3,000,000) consultants to tell him & the Provost what they should have known as leaders or been able to find out from the bright, engaged people. (Prominent east-coast University accomplishing same at 0 costs)

    Cal. has been badly damaged. Good people are loosing their jobs. Cal’s leadership is either incompetent or culpable. Merely cutting out inefficiencies does not have the effect desired. But you never want a crisis to go to waste.

    Increasing Cal’s budget is not enough. Take aim at the real source of Cal’s fiscal, & leadership crisis; honorably retire Chancellor Birgeneau, Provost Breslauer.

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April 13th, 2011

Staff Reporter

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