February 26, 2016 - In this report, we provide background on three key areas of higher education in California: enrollment, tuition and financial aid, and institutional performance. We then analyze specific budget proposals for the University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges, Hastings College of the Law, and California Student Aid Commission, making corresponding recommendations for the Legislature's consideration.
February 5, 2016 - Presented to: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance
September 22, 2016 - In this report, we provide background on the Student Success and Support Program, student equity, and other student success programs of the California Community Colleges (CCC). As background, we consider the effects of recent actions taken by the CCC Board of Governors, including setting minimum academic standards for fee waivers and establishing new policies for registration. We next discuss implementation of student success and equity programs. We conclude with an assessment of implementation to date and offer recommendations for legislative consideration.
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.
April 5, 2016 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance
February 8, 2001 - Many students arrive at public colleges in California unprepared for college-level courses. In this report we recommend a multifaceted strategy to address this problem by assessing student preparedness earlier, improving accountability in precollegiate education, and funding precollegiate courses in a more equitable and effective manner.
December 5, 2012 - A century and a half after the founding of adult education in the state, we find that the system faces a number of major problems and challenges, including: (1) an overly broad mission; (2) lack of clear delineations between adult education and collegiate coursework at community colleges; (3) inconsistent and conflicting state-level policies; (4) widespread lack of coordination among providers; and (5) limited student data, which impairs the public's ability to hold the system accountable for performance. Given adult education's numerous and significant challenges, we believe the system is in need of comprehensive restructuring. This report lays out a vision and roadmap for a more efficient and effective system. Our package of recommendations includes: (1) a state-subsidized system focused on adult education's core mission; (2) common, statewide definitions that clearly differentiate between adult education and collegiate education; (3) a common set of policies for faculty and students at adult schools and community colleges; (4) a dedicated stream of funding that creates incentives for cooperation among providers, with new adult education funds allocated based on regional needs; and (5) an integrated data system that tracks student outcomes and helps the public hold providers accountable for results.
March 1, 2017 - Presented to Senate Education Committee
April 18, 2017 - Presented to: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance
April 7, 2016 - Presented to Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 on Education
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.
March 30, 2017 - In this report, we assess the effects of recent changes in state funding rates on California Community Colleges (CCC) noncredit courses, and recommend that the Legislature explore four key issues moving forward. We believe that by addressing the appropriate funding rates for noncredit instruction, the respective roles and definitions of credit and noncredit instruction, the accessibility of such instruction across the state, and the system the state has for measuring the effectiveness of noncredit and adult education, the Legislature could improve significantly the effectiveness of noncredit and adult education in California over the coming years.
February 16, 2017 - In this report, we analyze the Governor's higher education budget proposals. Our many recommendations for consideration by the legislature include: providing base increases for the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and California Community Colleges (CCC); improving implementation of existing student support programs before expanding upon other initiatives being put forward by the administration and other segments; and asking the administration to provide certain additional information about the CCC guided pathways and CCC Chancellor’s Office staffing proposals during spring budget hearings.
January 14, 2014 - In 2012, the California State University (CSU) launched Early Start—a program that requires freshmen who do not pass CSU’s placement exams to begin taking remedial courses during the summer before freshman year. Chapter 430, Statutes of 2012 (AB 2497, Solorio), requires our office to report on Early Start participation, demographics, and outcomes. About 27 percent of CSU freshmen participated in Early Start in 2012. A higher percentage of Latinos, blacks, women, and financially needy students enrolled in Early Start compared to all CSU freshmen. Because CSU did not provide data on Early Start outcomes, we were unable to assess whether Early Start affected the time it took for students to become college ready. Moving forward, we recommend the Legislature eliminate the remaining Early Start reporting requirements and instead focus on the reasons why remediation rates remain high. To this end, we recommend the Legislature consider authorizing a broader series of studies on: (1) the appropriateness of CSU’s placement exams and cut scores, (2) whether CSU is accepting students who fall outside its eligibility pool (the top one-third of high school graduates), (3) the rigor of college preparatory coursework in California high schools and the timing of test results that inform what classes are taken senior year, and (4) whether the state's subsidy policies encourage CSU to address high remediation rates.