Coming August 31: Top 100 Associate Degree Producers Issue
A Deeper Dive Into the Top 100 Data Reveals Some Important Long-Term Trends
Each year, Community College Week’s Top 100 report is one of our most popular issues. Though our listings are purely quantitative, colleges like to see where they rank. The lists can be presented to government officials and other stakeholders as numerical proof that colleges are doing their work. At a time when community colleges are lambasted for poor graduation rates, the numbers contained in CCWeek’s Top 100 can be used for positive press releases. But a deeper dive into the Top 100 data also reveal some important long-term trends. Chief among them is the gap between men and women when it comes to earning associate degrees. In 2014, for example, women earned 612,492 associate degrees, compared to 390,775 for men. That same year, the University of Phoenix, the online behemoth, granted 25,820 associate degrees, more than any other college; 13,888 of those degrees went to women, compared to 5,670 for men. Between 1991 and 2014, women earned more degrees than man every single year. Nowhere is the gap more apparent, however, then among men of color. Data consistently show a persistent gap separating Latinos and Black males from other student groups on measures of academic progress and college completion. According to a 2014 report by the Community College Center for Student Engagement, only 5 percent of black men and 5 percent of Latino men earn an associate degree within three years of enrollment compared to 34 percent of white men. These gaps exist across higher education and across international boundaries. They are not widely understood. Community colleges are working to change that. Spurred by a landmark CCCSE study, colleges are working to boost academic achievement among men of color.