NBLC’s push to pass SB 1456 – the Student Success Act of 2012 (Lowenthal) has borne fruit. The bill passed the State Assembly Appropriations Committee today. The bill now goes to the full Assembly for a vote. If it passes, it is on to the Governor’s desk in September.
Community colleges are the economic engine of the California economy as they educate and train the bulk of our state’s workforce. Our Community Colleges have over 2.6 million students currently enrolled in the 112 colleges across our state. They play a critical role in meeting the need for post-secondary education leading to certificates, and two and four year degrees. California’s future is dependent upon its colleges producing enough college graduates with the skills required to fill the jobs generated in our state.
But, by any measure, community college completion rates are unacceptable. A study by the Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy found that only 3 in 10 students earned a certificate, degree, or transferred to a four year college after six years. These rates were even lower for Black and Latino students.
SB 1456 has the potential to greatly improve community college completion, taking critical student support strategies that have long been proven to work in helping students reach their college goals—most of which can be implemented through the use and reprioritization of existing resources—and adopting them system wide. In a resource-starved environment, SB 1456 is exactly the type of innovative reform that can help promote successful student outcomes.
Specifically, SB 1456 will:
- Ensure that all community college students receive orientation, assessment, and education planning services at the beginning of their educational journey.
- Target campus resources to support innovative models for delivering critical student support services such as expanding peer counseling and utilizing paraprofessional academic advisors.
- Incentivize student progress by more closely aligning Board of Governors’ Fee Waiver requirements with federal aid standards.
- Increase transparency and help close the achievement gap by requiring campuses receiving student success funds to post a scorecard measuring their progress by ethnicity, age, gender, socio-economic status, and disability.