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An Evaluation of CSU's Cross-Campus Online Education Program


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The 2013-14 Budget: Analysis of the Higher Education Budget

February 12, 2013 - In the 2013-14 Governor's Budget Summary, the Governor expresses major concerns about higher education in California. Most notably, the Governor is concerned about escalating higher education costs, funding models that promote neither efficiency nor effectiveness, and generally poor student outcomes. To address these issues, the Governor lays out a multiyear budget plan. The main component of the plan is large annual unallocated base increases for all three higher education segments. The Governor loosely links these base increases with an expectation the segments improve their performance. Although we believe the Governor’s budget plan has drawn attention to some notable problems, we have serious concerns with several of his specific budget proposals. By providing the segments with large unallocated increases only vaguely connected to undefined performance expectations, the Governor cedes substantial state responsibilities to the segments and takes key higher education decisions out of the Legislature’s control. We recommend the Legislature take a different approach and allocate any new funding first for the state’s highest existing education priorities, including debt service, pension costs, and paying down community college deferrals. If more funding is provided, then we recommend the Legislature link the additional funding with explicit enrollment and performance expectations.

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The Master Plan at 50: Using Distance Education to Increase College Access and Efficiency

October 25, 2010 - While distance education is not—and is not intended to be—suitable for everyone (students as well as faculty), we find that it offers an important alternative means of providing instruction that can complement existing formats and expand options for the state’s students and segments. In order to take fuller advantage of this potential, we believe that the Legislature should guide a clearer statewide vision that specifies data which the segments should collect and report on distance–education students, and which clarifies expectations concerning intercampus collaborations and other partnerships. To that end, we make a number of recommendations.

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Reforming the State's Transfer Process: A Progress Report on Senate Bill 1440

May 11, 2012 - In an attempt to fundamentally reform the state’s transfer of students between the California Community Colleges (CCC) and the California State University (CSU) system, the Legislature and Governor enacted Chapter 428, Statutes of 2010 (SB 1440, Padilla). The legislation requires community colleges to create two-year associate degrees for transfer. Students who earn such a degree are automatically eligible to transfer to the CSU system as an upper-division (junior) student in a bachelor’s degree program. Our review finds that since the legislation was enacted, CCC and CSU have made some progress, but additional work needs to be done by both segments to achieve SB 1440's intended goals. For their part, community colleges need to increase the number of associate degrees for transfer they make available to students. It is incumbent on CSU, meanwhile, to maximize the number of academic programs to which these degrees can be applied. Toward these ends, we recommend the Legislature provide additional guidance and clarification to CCC and CSU on their responsibilities, as well as continued oversight to track their progress.

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California Community Colleges: Interim Evaluation of Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program

December 19, 2017 - Chapter 747 of 2014 (SB 850, Block) authorizes California Community Colleges (CCC) to offer baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degrees on a pilot basis at 15 community college districts. It also requires the Legislative Analyst’s Office to conduct an interim evaluation of the pilot program. This report fulfills that statutory requirement. In this report, we provide background on CCC’s role in California’s higher education system and describe the main components of the statewide pilot program. We then (1) describe and evaluate the selection of the pilot bachelor’s degree programs, (2) provide initial information about students participating in the pilot programs, and (3) discuss the financing of these programs. We conclude by identifying issues for the Legislature to consider as the 15 colleges continue implementing the pilot program.

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Final Evaluation of Community College Bachelor’s Degree Pilot

January 24, 2020 - State law authorizes the California Community Colleges (CCC) to award associate degrees, generally limiting the awarding of more advanced degrees to the state’s universities. As an exception to this rule, Chapter 747 of 2014 (SB 850, Block) authorized CCC to offer bachelor’s degrees on a pilot basis at up to 15 community colleges. Chapter 747 directed our office to conduct an interim evaluation of the pilot by July 1, 2018 and a final evaluation by July 1, 2022. This report reflects our final evaluation.

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Implementation Update: Reforming Transfer From CCC to CSU

February 2, 2015 - This report updates our 2012 progress report on transfer reform. We found that since 2012, both CCC and CSU have made substantial progress in meeting the legislation’s goals. Although some community colleges and CSU campuses are lagging in meeting specific statutory targets, both segments are making a good faith effort to comply with the legislation. Moving forward, we recommend the Legislature set specific reporting and data requirements to ensure the segments stay on track toward achieving the goals of transfer reform.

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The 2018-19 Budget: California Education Learning Lab

February 15, 2018 - In this report, we first provide background on online education at the California Community Colleges (CCC), California State University (CSU), and University of California (UC). We then describe the Governor’s proposal to create a new intersegmental online program, assess that proposal, and make an associated recommendation.

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[PDF] Evaluation of CSU's Doctor of Nursing Practice Pilot Program

January 5, 2017 - To increase capacity in its nursing programs during the nursing shortage in the late 1990's, the California State University (CSU) cited a need to increase the number of nursing faculty holding a doctoral degree (required for tenured/tenure-track positions) and expressed interest in establishing its own Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program to prepare such faculty. In response, the state enacted Chapter 416 of 2010 which temporarily allows CSU to offer an independent DNP on a pilot basis. Related legislation requires our office to evaluate the pilot program and make a recommendation regarding its extension. For a variety of reasons, we recommend the Legislature allow the CSU DNP pilot to sunset.

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The 2021-22 Budget: Various CSU Proposals

March 9, 2021 - This post analyzes four of the Governor’s budget proposals for the California State University (CSU). Specifically, the post covers proposals relating to CSU Stanislaus’s off-campus center in Stockton, the Computing Talent Initiative based at CSU Monterey Bay, CSU’s ability to transfer funds among its accounts, and summer-term student financial aid.

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The Master Plan at 50: Guaranteed Regional Access Needed for State Universities

February 14, 2011 - In this report we review how the Master Plan envisioned the California State University (CSU) as part of the state’s higher education system, and assess how the university has carried out its role in the face of changing enrollment demand and funding limitations. We conclude that CSU’s regional role is an important component of the state’s higher education system, and recommend that the Legislature take steps to protect that focus in the face of enrollment pressures and efforts by some campuses to become more selective. Specifically, we recommend that the Legislature (1) formalize a regional education role for CSU in statute, (2) codify its expectations for CSU’s eligibility pool, and (3) direct CSU to adjust its enrollment policies accordingly.

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California Community Colleges: A Progress Report on the Student Success Act of 2012

July 1, 2014 - The Legislature passed the Student Success Act of 2012 in an effort to improve student outcomes at the California Community Colleges (CCC). Since enactment, community colleges have made a number of changes designed to enhance support services for students. Though development and implementation of these changes still are in their early stages, overall we believe CCC is making changes consistent with the act and is on the right track. While the system is well underway in implementing the various provisions of the act, we believe the system has additional work to do in addressing other complementary priorities, particularly in the areas of course alignment, basic skills, and professional development.

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The 2020-21 Budget: Higher Education Analysis

February 20, 2020 - In this report, we analyze the Governor’s higher education budget proposals. Similar to last year, these proposals are wide ranging—including large base increases; targeted increases for apprenticeship programs and food pantries; one-time initiatives relating to extended education programs, work-based learning, faculty diversity, and animal shelters; and many facility projects.

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Back to Basics: Improving College Readiness of Community College Students

June 16, 2008 - Most students who enter California Community Colleges (CCC) lack sufficient reading, writing, and mathematics skills to undertake college–level work. Thus, one of the CCC system’s core missions is to provide precollegiate “basic skills” instruction to these students. In this report, we find that a large percentage of students do not overcome their basic skills deficiencies during their time at CCC. We identify a number of state policies that we believe stand in the way of student success, and recommend several structural and systemwide changes designed to help increase preparedness and achievement among community college students.

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California Public Higher Education: Funding Supplemental Services for Low-Income and First-Generation Students

December 20, 2017 - The Supplemental Report of the 2017-18 Budget Act required our office to examine how much existing funding and support is provided to these students and identify options for increasing that funding and support. This report fulfills this requirement.

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The 2021-22 Budget: California Community Colleges

February 16, 2021 - This report analyzes the Governor’s major budget proposals for the community colleges, covering base apportionments, enrollment, students’ basic needs, online tools, apprenticeships and work-based learning, instructional materials, and faculty professional development.