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Tracking Progress in Community College Access and Success

By Marisol Cuellar Mejia, Cesar Alesi Perez, Sidronio Jacobo, Fernando Garcia

In 2019, a landmark reform removed barriers for community college students in accessing transfer-level math and English courses. While more students are now completing these key early milestones for transfer, additional efforts are needed to address persistent racial equity gaps and promote students’ longer-term success.

Report

Managing Water and Farmland Transitions in the San Joaquin Valley

By Ellen Hanak, Andrew Ayres, Caitlin Peterson, Alvar Escriva-Bou ...

How can the San Joaquin Valley adapt to a future with less water? We’ve been researching this issue for the past seven years, and our new report presents highlights from we’ve learned, including a robust list of policy suggestions to help the valley weather—and make the most of—the coming changes.

Report

Improving College Access and Success through Dual Enrollment

By Olga Rodriguez, Daniel Payares-Montoya, Iwunze Ugo, Niu Gao

At one time, mainly high-achieving high school students took college courses through dual enrollment; but access has widened under the College and Career Access Pathways (CCAP) program. While CCAP students are benefiting from the program—they enroll in community college at high rates and reach key milestones—CCAP has room to improve.

blog post

COVID-19’s Sobering Effect on Life Expectancy

By Hans Johnson, Eric McGhee

Life expectancy has declined dramatically during the pandemic. Both in California and nationally, it fell almost a full two years in 2020, and provisional estimates suggest further declines in 2021.

Policy Brief

Policy Brief: English as a Second Language at California’s Community Colleges

By Olga Rodriguez, Laura Hill, Daniel Payares-Montoya, Mary Severance

The community college system is implementing reforms to English as a Second Language pathways aimed at improving student outcomes. Given the link between English proficiency and access to high-wage jobs—and the large number of English Learners at community colleges—these reforms represent a unique opportunity to increase economic mobility.

Report

English as a Second Language at California’s Community Colleges

By Olga Rodriguez, Laura Hill, Daniel Payares-Montoya

Colleges began implementing reforms aimed at improving English as a Second Language pathways in fall 2021—during a historic pandemic. We cannot yet disentangle the impact of reforms from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, but an analysis of early implementation finds that colleges have made significant progress.

Report

COVID-19 Emergency Funding and California’s Higher Education Systems

By Jacob Jackson, Kevin Cook, Darriya Starr

Federal dollars offered timely, substantial support to the state’s higher education systems during the worst of the pandemic. Funding for students, online instruction, and social distancing measures made up key spending allocations.

blog post

Testimony: Enrollment Declines in California Community Colleges

By Olga Rodriguez

For a hearing of Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance, PPIC’s Olga Rodriguez presented research on pandemic-induced enrollment declines at community colleges—with the largest decreases among Asian, Black, and Latino students—and discussed strategies for boosting student access and educational attainment.

Report

The Effects of COVID-19 on Transfer-Intending Students in California’s Community Colleges

By Cesar Alesi Perez, Jacob Jackson, Marisol Cuellar Mejia, Olga Rodriguez ...

The pandemic disrupted enrollment, persistence, and course success for many transfer-intending students at California community colleges, especially those from vulnerable and underrepresented groups. Yet critical pre-pandemic reforms as well as actions taken by colleges and faculty may have helped limit the pandemic’s impact for some who stayed enrolled.

Report

Storing Water for the Environment

By Sarah Null, Jeffrey Mount, Brian Gray, Kristen Dybala ...

Large reservoirs are essential for managing water in California’s highly variable climate—but over the years, the construction and operation of these reservoirs have had significant environmental costs. Our new research outlines how reservoir operations could be changed to improve the health of the state’s fragile freshwater ecosystems.

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