The PIE Review: Easing Access in the USA

ISSUE #12 | THE PIE REVIEW |

Colleges are vying for students with their peers, four-year institutions in the US and elsewhere, and private pathways, which Jennings describes as the sector’s “biggest competitor”. And a growing number of universities are developing in-house pathways to provide the kind of soft landing community colleges have long promised to offer. All of this means that “just signing an agent agreement isn’t going to do it any more,” says Mark Ashwill, managing director of human resource development company Capstone Vietnam and an expert on the student market in Vietnam. “At one point, 90 per cent of Vietnamese undergraduates were starting at a community college,” he says, but notes that demand has dropped in recent years. “[Colleges] need to build that capacity first before they can begin aggressively recruiting, so the students who enroll are happy students, satisfied customers. ”

Joint effort

Rather than build this capacity alone, some community colleges partner with private companies that help with recruit. We want to champion the middle class of the world to send their children to community colleges“ publication detailing the application process and advantages of community colleges for international students, which will be translated into five languages. The ‘2+2UPath’ document will also feature individual colleges, giving information such as application requirements, the availability of on-campus housing and, of course, fees. “Our new approach is that community college is ‘my choice’, not because I lack something!” Solakian says. “We want to champion the middle class of the world to send their children to community colleges, and let our community colleges champion them to transfer to great universities.” Capacity constraints Not all colleges are set up to host foreign enrollees. Many are only now starting to get their international strategies into gear, and resources on campus are often stretched. “There’s a challenge to do more with less in terms of funding, and I think that’s probably a dilemma facing many community colleges,” says Hales. Support for internationalization, and community colleges in general, is higher in some states than others, and those with a history of recruiting international students have a ment and programming best suited to international students.

One such company is Quad Learning, which has developed a rigorous transfer programme leading both domestic and international students from community college through into university.

Unlike most community colleges, its American Honors programme is based on selective admissions, and its curriculum is closer in style to those provided at a university. This service aims to enhance the community college offer for schools who don’t have the resources in-house to do it themselves. “In essence, what we’ve done is created a pathway within a community college,” explains Phil Bronner, its CEO. The programme incorporates global learning across the curriculum and there is a “huge amount of hand-holding” and counseling about what subjects to take and how to navigate the 2+2 route. So far, Quad has 10 community college partners and is looking to work with more in future.

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