March Update

SB 1456, Student Success Act of 2012, Introduced

Sen. Alan Lowenthal has introduced legislation that would implement important elements of the Student Success Task Force recommendations. The bill, SB 1456, would amend the current matriculation program to frame the Task Force's vision of student success and support services. The amendments would provide the statutory authority for the board of governors to require that:

  • Students participate in orientation, assessment and education planning;
  • Colleges or districts receiving student success and support program funds implement the system common assessment and accountability scorecard;
  • Students meet academic progress to be eligible for the BOG Fee Waiver as determined by the board of governors.

Key Dates

March 21: SSTF Best Practices Tour, Long Beach

April 18:  SB 1456 to be heard in Senate Education Committee

The bill will be the subject of significant ongoing discussions that likely will lead to language changes as it moves through the legislative process. Deliberations around this legislation will focus on how to most effectively implement the Student Success Task Force recommendations, and will include discussions about fine-tuning the policy, time-lines, and resources.

The Chancellor's Office plans to use a combination of existing advisory committees and new work groups to assist in this process. The bill language was recently reviewed in detail with the Matriculation Advisory Committee and the Financial Aid Regional Representatives Technical Advisory Committee and the input from these groups was incorporated to improve the drafting. These groups and others will continue to provide input and advice as the proposal advances. SB 1456, co-authored by Sen. Carol Liu, will be heard in the Senate Education Committee on April 18.

Chancellor Jack Scott Starts SSTF Best Practices Tour

Chancellor Scott will visit several colleges over the coming months to highlight local campuses that have already adopted policies that are in alignment with the SSTF recommendations. First on the tour was West Hills College District on March 1 to talk to students, administrators and faculty about a priority enrollment policy that has resulted in more high school students in the region entering college. Look for video of the event on the Student Success Task Force web site. On March 21, SSTF recommendations dealing with K-12 alignment will be spotlighted as part of an event marking a milestone for the Long Beach College Promise.

Lawmakers Hold Hearing on Student Success Task Force Recommendations

The Assembly Higher Education and Senate Education committees held a joint informational hearing Feb. 1 to hear the recommendations of the Student Success Task Force, and lawmakers expressed a deep interest in partnering with our system to find strategies to ensure that even more of our students achieve their educational goals.

At the hearing, Chancellor Scott and board of governors member and task force Chair Peter MacDougall presented an overview of the recommendations. Then a panel of five task force members presented additional details on the plan. Some key themes stood out:

  • The California Community Colleges change lives. For 2.6 million students each year, our colleges are the gateway to advancement. The education and training we provide helps our students to achieve their educational goals and lift themselves and their families to greater economic and social opportunities.
  • The task force recommendations are aimed at promoting successful completion for all our students. Too many of our students never achieve their educational goals and completion rates for Latino and African American students lag behind those of White students.
  • Implementation is key. The task force recommendations provide a valuable framework for improvement, but they represent a high-level plan. Specific implementation strategies will be required for each recommendation and these will need to be developed with great thought and care.

Chancellor Scott also noted that students, especially historically under-represented students, who have been shut out of community colleges due to budget cuts would have a better chance of entry to the system under the proposed enrollment priorities. In 2009-10 alone, 133,000 potential first-time students couldn't get into a single course because colleges were forced to slash course offerings.

SSTF Recommendations Receive Positive Reviews From National Policy Leaders

Chancellor Scott traveled to Washington D.C. this month to brief key education officials in Congress and the Obama administration on the recommendations contained in the SSTF report. Department of Education Undersecretary Martha Kanter expressed strong support for the plan, saying it dovetails with the completion goals articulated by the president and his top post-secondary education advisors. The SSTF proposals received similar support in meetings with Dr. Jill Biden's staff, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, and Rep. George Miller, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

More Media Coverage of the Student Success Task Force Recommendations

Newspapers such as the Sacramento Bee and the Santa Cruz Sentinel are supporting the SSTF recommendations. For more coverage, visit the Chancellor's Office Task Force News website.