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Most states with reporting requirements request data on the total number of students enrolled. New Mexico collects information on the number of noncredit offerings, participants, and employers served. The state also collects contact hours which are used to allocate funds for the forthcoming year. Some states seek other information, however, such as the number custom paper service of courses, as in Wisconsin, or the amount of revenue generated, as in New Hampshire. More specifically, states that provide general funds for noncredit workforce education also require data on noncredit students. Since Maryland requires reporting on all students, Anne Arundel Community College collects data on all noncredit students. Cumberland County College submits two major reports annually to the New Jersey Council of Community Colleges.
As in North Carolina, 46 the colleges report information on all noncredit programs regardless of whether they receive state funding. With the new increase in state funding for noncredit education, City College of San Francisco will need more information on its noncredit students to demonstrate that noncredit education is part of a career ladder for students.
Colleges without state noncredit reporting requirements rarely collect noncredit data for their own purposes. At Bellevue Community College, the institutional research office collects information on noncredit students on a limited basis, while the noncredit department independently collects information.
The College of Southern Nevada has an identifier for noncredit students, but these data are not typically analyzed because of lack of state funding.
They do have similar information available on noncredit students from applications, including demographics and educational intent. Figure 8: State Reporting Requirements for Noncredit Workforce Education Source: CCRC interviews with state policymakers.
Several state policymakers expressed concern that the data collected under existing reporting requirements undercount the number of students enrolled in noncredit workforce education. The state association for community colleges does periodic surveys to estimate the number of students in self-supporting classes. Some states are seeking to improve noncredit reporting or make it a requirement. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system implemented a comprehensive noncredit education reporting requirement in 2002. Institutions are required to use the same integrated student information system for credit and noncredit students and courses and have been working to improve the completeness of data on noncredit student demographic characteristics. Other custom paper service states are moving to create policies to require reporting on noncredit workforce education. As previously discussed, both Ohio and Virginia recently enacted reporting requirements with the goal of gaining state funds for noncredit education by documenting the thesis writing service uk demand for it. New Jersey also recently enacted reporting on noncredit enrollments in all sectors of higher education, starting with a pilot effort in the 2007 fiscal year. Various data systems are associated with reporting requirements. Systems may have been created with the goal of facilitating data collection for reporting requirements, or their existence may allow the state to establish reporting requirements.
Even contract training, which seeks to be self supporting, has some contractual reporting requirements. Other states noted complications with their data reporting systems. In particular, the custom paper service systems may not accommodate the scheduling needs of noncredit and may request more data than students are willing to provide. Colleges may end up manually entering data for reporting. The use of these systems may be required as part of receiving state funds.
Some states are seeking to improve their data collection by developing new data systems for noncredit education. Some other states indicated that they are exploring ways to improve their data systems to collect information on noncredit workforce education.
New Mexico is also considering how it might merge its various data and data systems with its current state system that tracks only credit courses.
When considering new data systems or reporting requirements, states need to be aware of their current systems and their limitations. One state policymaker noted that noncredit programs often have their own separate, sometimes web-based, data systems with abbreviated data requirements Colleges typically maintain limited records that do not get reported to the state and might resist collecting additional data to meet state reporting requirements. This concern is particularly salient in noncredit programs operated as a separate unit within the college. Figure 9: State Data System for Noncredit Workforce Education Source: CCRC interviews with state policymakers. Case study colleges reported several barriers to data collection.
Some reported that students are reluctant to provide information, particularly social security numbers and especially if they are taking just one course.
Tyler Junior College is, in fact, moving to eliminate the use of social security numbers and to use a student identification number instead. Other colleges mentioned that they could not collect or report data on undocumented immigrants.
Another barrier to collecting data is the format of noncredit education with open-entry open-exit courses and different time frames and schedules for courses.
Such fluidity in format requires systems to collect and report data that are different from those used for credit courses. As with state data systems, community college data systems are often designed for credit programs and do not accommodate the more flexible needs of noncredit. A few case study colleges seek to measure student outcomes from noncredit programs through program reviews. Northeast Wisconsin Technical College conducts program reviews every five years, engaging local employers, conducting surveys, and discussing trends and competencies.