March 22, 2022
California community college system officials are having trouble collecting data from local colleges across the state on key issues like enrollment, campus policing and application fraud. And now, the state chancellor’s office wants the board of governors to force local colleges to respond.
The chancellor’s office overseeing California’s 116 community colleges plans to do that by creating a new state regulation that would require local colleges to respond within 10 days when the chancellor’s office asks for data or other information.
The community college system, the nation’s largest with about 1.5 million students, has been unable in recent semesters to fully report enrollment at its colleges. The system’s inability to accurately report enrollment surfaced following the onset of the pandemic, when community colleges in California and nationwide saw double-digit enrollment losses. System officials have attributed much of the issue to challenges counting certain students taking noncredit online courses.
With this initiative, the system’s leadership is acknowledging that one of their problems when collecting data is that local districts don’t cooperate when asked to respond to requests for information.
Officials say having complete data is necessary to the system working toward its goals of improving student success in areas like degree completion and transfers to four-year universities. In one recent survey of colleges regarding their enrollment levels, chancellor’s office staff say that nearly half of colleges did not respond. In another survey on campus policing, the chancellor’s office received responses from less than half of districts.
The proposed change to state regulations was presented Monday at a meeting of the system’s board of governors. The board will be able to vote on the change at a future meeting.
“This item really is presenting us with an opportunity to establish community college districts’ responsibility to respond to the chancellor’s office information and data requests that are critical for very important issues,” said Valerie Lundy-Wagner, the system’s vice chancellor of digital infrastructure, during a presentation to the board.