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Ideas for getting more students in the door

Welcome to another week of Awake58! If you were forwarded this email, be sure to subscribe by clicking here.

We still want to know what you think of Awake58 … We examine thoughts on how to tackle enrollment challenges … NC public schools superintendent Mark Johnson will run for lieutenant governor … Winston-Salem College Guarantee launches …

As you are reading this email, I am driving to western North Carolina to spend some time with family and friends. I was born in Morganton, was raised in Lenoir, and spent much of my childhood traipsing around Wilkesboro. During my trip west, I’ll also spend time on a few community college campuses to learn more about the challenges and opportunities ahead.

One issue that has been on my mind throughout our time publishing Awake58 is the challenge of enrollment and market share. As for-profit colleges continue to ramp up their marketing efforts, enrollment has declined at many community colleges across the country. “Lower Ed” by Tressie Cottom addresses this head on. I encourage you to give it a read.

This week, Emily Thomas, a North Carolina-based education consultant, looks at opportunities for local community colleges to reverse the enrollment trend. Thomas lifts up some possibilities around student debt and affordability that we have heard from students during our recent student town hall series, but she also calls out opportunities around what she terms an enrollment funnel. Check out the piece and let us know your thoughts by replying directly to this email.

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See you out on the road,



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EdNC reads

Getting students in the door: Enrollment challenges and opportunities at NC community colleges

This piece explores opportunities for community colleges to turn around enrollment declines, including framing their affordability against the backdrop of the student debt crisis. As the author writes, “The fear of high student loan debt and lower tuition cost is an opportunity for community colleges to position themselves as a smart financial choice.” For more on the challenges and opportunities, check out the piece.

Early Bird: Why doesn’t North Carolina have universal pre-K?

“Universal public pre-K programs — programs with no requirement other than age — make a bigger difference in students’ academic success than programs that target specific children with high needs, a Dartmouth College study has found…” My colleague Liz Bell continues to cover the early childhood beat through Early Bird. I encourage you to sign up by clicking here!

Superintendent Mark Johnson will run for lieutenant governor.

Mark Johnson was elected state superintendent in 2016, and he just announced a bid for lieutenant governor. If Johnson were to win that post in 2020, he would also serve on the State Board of Community Colleges.

ICYMI: How is the state going to increase community college enrollment? 

Over the past 12 years, community college enrollment statewide has dropped by 2%. But if you take Wake Technical Community College out of the equation, that figure is 6%. A task force convened recently to explore the challenges and opportunities.

Other reads

Two community colleges show how students can succeed without remedial math courses

We are following examples from around the country of colleges taking different approaches to remediation. Check out this feature on two California community colleges. This stands out: “Not only are students at Cuyamaca Community College taking math classes that can transfer to four-year colleges, but Latino students are bucking a national trend by outperforming their white counterparts.”

LISTEN: The American Dream and the children of immigrants

NPR caught up with economist Leah Bouston regarding a working paper she co-authored that illustrates how children of poor immigrants achieve more mobility than the children of poor U.S.-born parents.

Around North Carolina

Winston-Salem College Guarantee launches

“Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines announced a new program Wednesday that will allow local high school graduates who can’t afford the cost of Forsyth Technical Community College to attend for free… Funded primarily by an $870,000 grant from BB&T Corp., the Winston-Salem College Guarantee was announced at a news conference on the campus of FTCC.”

Willie Nelson is coming to MerleFest

Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss will headline MerleFest at Wilkes Community College in 2020. We are planning to have a big contingent attend next spring. Let us know if you want to meet up!

Students at these colleges can use their student IDs to vote. Many others can’t.

Your college may not have applied to have their student ID accepted at the polls. The Charlotte Observer has the story: “Using a student ID or government employee ID to vote next year could be complicated… Dozens of community colleges, private colleges and state and local government agencies either didn’t apply to have their identifications accepted at the polls, or their applications were rejected — and new applications won’t be accepted until after the 2020 elections.”

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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.