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 Reports and White Papers 

AACC periodically publishes reports and white papers about issues of particular relevance to community colleges.


When Less is More: Prioritizing Open Access
(October 2017)
When Less is More: Prioritizing Open Access looks at the mythical full-time equivalent student. Too often, the college community equates all students with full-time equivalents (FTE). This occurs even when it is well known that, unlike other sectors of education, the majority of community college students simply do not enroll full time. Quantifying support based on FTE may be damaging to community colleges in terms of funding and the support services needed for all students.

Up-dated Data on Trends in Community College Enrollment and Completion
(March 2016)
This report, the third in a series, uses the most recent data released by the U. S. Department of Education and the National Student Clearinghouse to track national community college enrollment over four years. It also compares the completion measures used by the two sources, showing that looking beyond the starting institution and across a longer time-frame more accurately captures student success.

Seizing the Moment: Community Colleges Collaborating with K-12 to Improve Student Success
(February 2016)
The report calls on community college presidents and trustees to embrace the higher standards many K-12 school systems have adopted and implement strategies to increase college readiness and success. 

Community College Completion - Progress Toward Goal of 50% Increase
(April 2015)
How well are community colleges doing in meeting the ambitious goals they set for themselves in 2010? The report, Community College Completion, addresses that question.

Second Trends in Community College Enrollment and Award Completion Data (March 2015)
This report examines the trends behind the continued decrease in national community college enrollments using the latest data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) and the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC).

Federal Student Financial Aid Helps Community College Students Pay for Their Education (April 2014)
This report examines the latest data from the 2011-2012 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:12) of the U.S. Department of Education to show the characteristics of community college students, the price of their education, the various sources of financial aid, of which federal financial aid is paramount, to pay for their education, and information about loan defaults.

Recent National Community College Enrollment and Award Completion Data (January 2014)
This report examines the trends behind the decrease in national community college enrollments using the latest data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) and the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC).

Postcollege Workforce Outcomes Measures: Issues Facing Policymakers, Analysts, and Researchers (July 2013)
The intent of this paper is to provide a foundation on which future conversations focused on postcollege outcomes may be based.

Preventing Abuse in Federal Student Aid: Community College Practices (April 2012)
In this report, AACC shares practices that colleges have found to be successful in curbing financial aid abuse.

Fall 2011: Estimated Headcount Enrollment and Pell Grant Trends (December 2011)
After a number of years of enrollment growth at the nation’s community colleges, total headcount enrollments leveled off in fall 2011 from the previous year.

Report on the 21st-Century Initiative Listening Tour (August 2011)
President Barack Obama has challenged community colleges to educate an additional 5 million students with degrees, certificates, or other credentials by 2020. As state funding for education and other revenue sources continue to decline, now more than ever, there is a need to formulate innovative strategies to support this ambitious goal. In response to the president’s education agenda, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is leading advancement of the next era of community college evolution through its two-phase 21st-Century Initiative. Phase 1, the 21st-Century Initiative Listening Tour, consisted of gathering information from a diverse group of stakeholders from across the country in the following areas: (1) student success, (2) Voluntary Framework of Accountability, (3) strategies for dealing with budget constraints, (4) big ideas for the future of community colleges, and (5) what AACC can do for members.

The Completion Agenda: A Call to Action (April 2011)
The college completion challenge was the focal point of the November 2010 meeting of AACC’s board and commissions. Representatives from those bodies, as well as from the National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges, AACC’s Voluntary Framework of Accountability Steering Committee, and AACC-affiliated councils, rolled up their sleeves in focus groups to address four central issues related to the completion agenda: how to secure commitment, accountability for outcomes, developing a toolkit, and how to overcome obstacles to completion. The Completion Agenda: A Call to Action summarizes the key points emerging from the focus groups.

Community College Estimated Growth: Fall 2010 (February 2011)
This report summarizes findings from a recent AACC survey of community colleges. The report provides enrollment counts for credit enrollment 2000–2010. As the report shows, although enrollment has continued to increase, the rate of increase has slowed in comparison to previous years.

Noncredit Enrollment in Workforce Education: State Policies and Community College Practices (2008)
This report provides detailed findings on state policies and community college practice from Community College Research Center's (CCRC's) study of community college noncredit workforce education. Drawing on interviews with state policymakers in all 50 states and case studies of 20 community colleges in 10 states, the report offers recommendations for policy and practice. Noncredit workforce education can play an important role in responding to local labor market demands, while also connecting students to long-term educational opportunities and documenting outcomes in a meaningful way.

Funding Issues in U.S. Community Colleges: Findings From a 2007 Survey of the National State Directors of Community Colleges (2008)
Changing state revenues have prompted heightened concern about the immediate short- and long-term future and stability of state investments in higher education. Just what is going on in the field in terms of access, funding, and overall support for community colleges? These are the questions that originally spurred the need for a formal survey of funding issues in U.S. community colleges. This report summarizes the perceptions gleaned from community college state directors (or their designees) during the third administration of the survey in 2007. It is offered as a barometer of the current situation and future prospects for community college funding and access.

First Responders: Community Colleges on the Front Line of Security (2006)
Community colleges currently credential close to 80% of first responders and 60% of health-care professionals. Not so fully documented, however, is the colleges' expanding leadership role in homeland security through new programs, unique facilities, and working alliances. To gain a more complete picture of community college engagement, AACC undertook two important surveys in 2004. Findings from these studies - AACC's Hot Programs and Homeland Security Survey and Survey on Homeland Security and Related Issues - provided for the first time an in-depth look at these broad and varied activities and provided the basis for much of this report.

White Papers

Copyright Considerations In Distance Education and Technology-Mediated Instruction (2000)
In 1999, AACC published a white paper, "Copyright Considerations in Distance Education and Technology-Mediated Instruction." The white paper was updated in May 2000 to include recent changes in copyright law and the implications those changes have on higher education.

The Workforce Investment Act: Implementation for Community Colleges (1998) 
Employment and training programs in the United States have evolved through several legislative incarnations since the early 1960s. The Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962, the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973 and the Job Training Partnership Act of 1982 (JTPA) were all major landmarks in the history of these programs.


 Contact Information

For more information, please contact:

David Baime
Senior Vice President, Government Relations & Policy Analysis
202.728.0200 x224


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