Do Open Admissions Suppress Achievement?

Career College Central summary:

  • The open-door admissions policies of community colleges and the national college completion “agenda” are contributing to an influx of unprepared students who have little chance of earning a degree, and who are likely to rack up crippling debt along the way.
  • That’s the central argument of a newly released book, Community Colleges and the Access Effect: Why Open Admissions Suppresses Achievement (Palgrave Macmillan). To help fix this problem, the book’s co-authors, Juliet Lilledahl Scherer, a professor of English at St. Louis Community College, and Mirra Leigh Anson, director of TRIO Upward Bound at the University of Iowa, propose raising the minimum requirements for college entry.
  • Both Scherer and Anson have taught at the community college level. And their book describes students they have seen fail, with heartbreaking consequences. For example, one of the authors currently mentors a former community college student who was shot in the head when he was 16. Despite lingering cognitive and physical problems, the impoverished student made the “hope-filled, but ill-advised” decision to enroll in college.
  • The student got a transcript of Fs and dropped courses to show for his community college experience. He also carries debt, which made him ineligible for a work force training program. It will be difficult to pay down with his part-time job, which pays $7.35 an hour.
  • Scherer and Anson responded to questions about their book via email.

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