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Student Engagement at Community Colleges Is Up

As high school students consider their options for next fall, they may want to give community college a second look. 

A new report released today shows that over the past decade students attending two-year public colleges increasingly feel engaged, challenged, and supported. The positive trend holds for students who attended full-time, part-time and for those in developmental courses, according to the Center for Community College Student Engagement in Austin. Among the report's highlights:

• Seventy-two percent of full-time students and 57 percent of part-time students report collaborating with other students outside of class sometimes, often or very often.

• The amount of financial support their college offered increased among all students surveyed, up 12 percentage points for part-time students.

• About 80 percent of full-time students and 70 percent of part-time students talked about career plans with an advisor or instructor sometimes, often or very often, compared to 74 percent of full-time students and 61 percent of part-time students in 2004.

The CCCSE survey includes about 850 public two-year colleges representing 85 percent of U.S. community college students.

Overall, 62 percent of students. attend part-time and 38 percent full-time. The survey finds about 58 percent are between ages 18 and 24, while 42 percent are nontraditional students age 25 and older.

Still, the latest report from the American Association of Community Colleges shows enrollment is down for the third consecutive year and graduation rates lag behind other sectors. Six-year completion rates are 39 percent at two-year, public institutions.

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