Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

About the Authors

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pp. ix-x

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Foreword

by Adam Gamoran

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pp. xi-xiv

In 1988, the William T. Grant Foundation released The Forgotten Half, a widely cited report that decried our national underinvestment in young people who did not attend college. “As young Americans navigate the passage from youth to adulthood,” the report asserted, “far too many flounder and ultimately fail in their efforts. Although rich in material resources, our society seems unable to ensure that all our youth will mature into young men and women able to face their futures with a sense of confidence and security.”1...

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Preface

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pp. xv-xvi

Community colleges are pivotal institutions in society, and they shape opportunity for a large segment of the population. They exemplify American opportunity ideals, and they have created impressive college access. But they also show how traditional college procedures constrain our ideals. We tell students that college is the way to escape poverty, yet when they try, traditional college procedures and “college-readiness” rhetoric pose unnecessary obstacles at every step and block their opportunity. In the 2016 presidential election, when...

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Chapter 1. College for All: New Opportunities Through Community Colleges

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pp. 1-20

The united states has embarked on a new educational goal in recent decades. The policy of “college for all” (hereafter CFA), which expands educational opportunity and encourages all youth to attend college, has dramatically changed the higher education landscape, with consequences that have reverberated across American society. National and state policies have been enacted to encourage increased college enrollment, including support from scholarships,...

Part I. Alternative Options for Students

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pp. 21-22

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Chapter 2. Alternative Credentials: A Path Around the Usual Opportunity Barriers?

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pp. 23-43

While colleges often tell students they must pursue one-dimensional goals (BA degrees, earnings outcomes, and academic qualifications), the next three chapters show that students can benefit from many alternative options—sub-BA credentials, nonmonetary job rewards, and nonacademic qualifications. Many options are not widely discussed, and we find they have advantages that are not usually examined, including fewer obstacles and new kinds of successes....

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Chapter 3. Money Isn’t Everything: Do Sub-BA Credentials Lead to Nonmonetary Job Rewards?

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pp. 44-57

Responding to students’ difficulty in getting useful information for making their college choices, President Barack Obama, in his 2013 State of the Union Address, promoted a “College Scorecard” that parents and students could use to compare schools based on simple criteria related to “where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.”1 The scorecard would give students key information such as college graduation rate as well as employment rate and average earnings...

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Chapter 4. Beyond One-Dimensional Qualifications: How Students Discover Hidden Abilities

(in collaboration with Kennan A. Cepa)

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pp. 58-74

What qualifications do students need to succeed in college and jobs? The answer usually focuses on “college-readiness,” or college-level academic skills. College-for-all advocates often contend that college-level academic skills are necessary if students are to benefit from college and careers.1 In turn, colleges emphasize remedial courses that make students “college-ready.”
When society and institutions assign status to individuals on a onedimensional scale of merit, scholars call this “meritocracy.”2 This model...

Part II. Alternative Procedures for Colleges

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pp. 75-76

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Chapter 5. The Least Understood Tests in America: How College Procedures Shape Placement Test Results

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pp. 77-96

While traditional college procedures were designed for traditional college students, the next four chapters describe traditional procedures and ways they create difficulties for students crossing important college transitions. We often assume that colleges must operate by traditional procedures, the only procedures we have ever seen. However, these chapters describe alternative procedures that allow community colleges to work differently and perhaps...

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Chapter 6. Degree Ladders: Procedures That Combine Dependable Credentials and High Goals

(Pam Schuetz, Kennan A. Cepa, and James E. Rosenbaum)

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pp. 97-110

Community colleges are proud to provide opportunity, yet they are unclear about what opportunities they offer. Most community colleges have more than fifty degree programs conferring certificates, associate degrees, and transfer options.1 Traditional students may not be overwhelmed by these choices if they are advised by college-educated parents, but these decisions often trip up community college students, especially if they are academically or economically...

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Chapter 7. Beyond BA Blinders: Pathway Procedures Into, Through, and Out of College

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pp. 111-129

Colleges demand a variety of culturally specific skills, knowledge, resources, and habits. Some are intrinsic to the purpose of higher education, but many are holdovers from old cultural traditions.1 These demands are not a concern if colleges serve only traditional college students who understand these cultural traditions, and if the labor market demands only traditional academic skills. However, these demands may be outdated if colleges serve new groups of students or offer preparation for new occupations requiring other skills....

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Chapter 8. Innovative Colleges and Improved Transitions

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pp. 130-150

Colleges have been around for a long time, and one of their many traditions now taken for granted is the assumption that satisfactory progress naturally occurs unless students’ academic deficiencies are too great or their efforts too meager. Thus, as discussed in the previous chapter, when students falter in college transitions, the blame often falls on them, not on the institution.
Chapter 7 discussed promising procedures in use at some private occupational colleges. Here we discuss how two community colleges—...

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Chapter 9. The New College Reality: Alternative Options and Procedures

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pp. 151-164

American society is facing serious problems that an improved college-for-all policy could address. The middle class is being hollowed out by the offshoring and automation of jobs, and many youth cannot see pathways to productive adult roles. Blocked opportunities lead to desperation and political backlash among non-college-educated young adults and their parents. One likely cause of this discontent is a narrow vision of college that poses unnecessary obstacles...

Notes

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pp. 165-178

References

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pp. 179-190

Index

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pp. 191-195