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Final Evaluation of Community College Bachelor’s Degree Pilot


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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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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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[PDF] Streamlining Nursing Education Pathways: A Progress Report On Assembly Bill 1295 (Fuller)

March 15, 2011 - Chapter 283, Statutes of 2009 (AB 1295, Fuller), requires our office to report by March 15, 2011 on the progress of the California Community Colleges (CCC) and California State University (CSU) in developing nursing education pathways in time for the 2012 13 academic year. We find that CCC and CSU are generally on track to implement the requirements of AB 1295, though further work is needed. Our report offers some specific suggestions for systemwide changes intended to promote seamless transfer of nursing students from CCC to CSU.

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

January 3, 2018 - CSU is required by statute to (1) adopt a systemwide definition of online education, (2) report biennially on certain enrollment and performance data related to online education, and (3) report on the feasibility of developing an online bachelor’s degree completion program for students who started college but never obtained a degree. Chapter 82 of 2016 (AB 2908, Committee on Higher Education) requires our office to assess CSU’s implementation of these requirements and report to the Legislature by January 1, 2018. This report fulfills that statutory requirement.

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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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The 2016-17 Budget: Higher Education Analysis

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.

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Improving Academic Preparation For Higher Education

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.

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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 2020-21 Budget: Fresno Integrated K-16 Education Collaborative

March 11, 2020 - In this post, we analyze the Governor’s proposal to provide $17 million one-time General Fund to establish the Fresno Integrated K-16 Education Collaborative. The primary objective of the proposal is to create more education pathways in the greater Fresno region that help students transition from high school into college and the workforce. We raise several concerns with the proposal and recommend the Legislature consider other one-time spending options.

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Restructuring California's Adult Education System

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.