This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Monday, October 29, 2018. Click here to subscribe.
The debate around residency determination heats up
How much are you familiar with the Residency Determination process? The State Board of Community Colleges had a vigorous debate around the subject recently… We’re working on a series around community college enrollment and we want your thoughts… We’ve launched sports coverage through EdNC… and a new report is out on educational pathways to a good job, while a new data set points to wage growth slowing which raises the question of what a good job is anyways.
Welcome to a new week.
Thank you all for weighing in on college promise programs. Your responses were thoughtful and we’re going to cover the development of programs across the state. The four year institutions are also considering how to lower tuition. The Atlantic has a thoughtful look at the NC Promise program, which is being tested at three universities.
The big story for us this week has been the debate around the residency determination, which was a prominent storyline at the last State Board of Community Colleges meeting. The Board passed $380,000 for the second year of a contract with the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA) for the Residency Determination Service (RDS).
Board member Frank Johnson said of the program, “We’re funding something that actually keeps people from signing up for our community colleges.”
He then went on to say, “It prohibits people who are citizens, who are legitimate North Carolinians. This is a hurdle for them to get into our system. We need to shoot this dog. We need to get rid of it. We need to take care of it and let the legislators know that we care about this. This is an impediment to our progress in attaining full growth in our FTE, and it needs to be done.”
We’re going to continue to monitor this issue, but we also want to know if you have had any experience with the Residency Determination Service. Has the process hindered enrollment? Do you work with students who have experienced challenges with the program? Let us know by clicking reply to this email.
We’re also working on a series around enrollment within the community college system. Is your college pioneering something interesting to boost or stabilize enrollment? Or have you seen declines? What has the impact been for your college? Let us know. We may want to visit your college to share your story.
Do you have another story to share? We need your voice to tell the stories of our state’s 58 community college. We are now accepting first-person perspectives from community college faculty, staff, students, and stakeholders. To learn more about submitting an article, click here. If you respond to this email, I am happy to help you think about how to frame your perspective and story.
I also wanted you to know we’re launching coverage of sports across North Carolina. We’d love to cover compelling stories so pass them along – even if the story is that your college is considering launching a team. To receive all of the sports coverage, sign-up here.
My colleague Yasmin had an in-depth conversation with Dr. Gary Green, the outgoing president of Forsyth Tech, and Dr. Joel Welch, the chief academic officer of the institution, during our blitz. I love this quote from Dr. Green, “You have an opportunity to serve people who may have come to the community college as their only opportunity to get the education and get the skills to improve their lives and the lives of their family. That becomes … almost a calling, to help those people.”
This quote is stunning: “In the past two weeks, in addition to [Florence], I’ve had three students that have suicidal ideations. One ended up in-patient in ICU with an attempted overdose. One I was able to work with, and they are able to maintain on an outpatient basis. And sadly I got the news just a few days ago that one completed suicide. That’s at my campus y’all. Three in two weeks. That’s the norm.”
Analisa documents the way Haywood Community College works to keep regional traditions alive through some of their educational offerings.
Worth a click
This is a must read report for all considering the pathways to good jobs: “Whereas two out of three entry-level jobs in the industrial economy demanded a high school diploma or less, now two out of three jobs demand at least some education or training beyond high school. While automation, globalization, and upskilling have prompted this massive economic restructuring, there are still three pathways to good jobs.”
AI is all the rage in conversations about the future of work – but what about the role of AI in education? Community colleges are consistently wrapped into the conversation about the future of the economy and considering the impacts of AI on jobs has to be on the forefront. I’d spend a little time with this piece. I am also curious to hear from you if your college is considering those impacts and adjusting your offerings as a result.
As we’ve traveled the state, economic developers almost always point to low unemployment rates for their region. This data, however, begs the question – how do we generate wage growth? This will be key moving forward.
This is a bit self promotional, but I wanted to showcase this essay from one of EdNC’s funders around our engagement work with Reach NC Voices. We’re eager to move our engagement work into the community college space and we’d love to partner. Just drop me a line.
By the numbers: Community college enrollment
2 large colleges
Wake Tech Community College and Central Piedmont Community College make up 17% of the system’s total Full Time Equivalency (FTE) count for Fall 2017.
1,370 FTE decrease
From Fall of 2016 to Fall of 2017 the total system FTE count fell by 1,370. Curriculum Programs took a majority of the decrease along with basic skills training. Continuing Education saw growth in FTE count of 224.
8+ years of decline
Fall enrollment by FTE has dropped every year since at least 2010. Should this trend continue, the Fall FTE count could fall below 100,000 for the first time in that span this year.
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