College of the Canyons was ranked among the top 25 best U.S. colleges for adult learners in Washington Monthly magazine’s first-ever ranking of “Best Two-Year Colleges for Adult Learners.” Ranking at No. 21, COC made the list with 12 other two-year colleges in California.
Citing a lack of college rankings for adult students—defined as students who are over the age of 25—Washington Monthly analyzed data from 1,178 two-year colleges to create its list of the top 100 two-year colleges in the nation.
“True to its mission, College of the Canyons is committed to providing a high-quality education to all, including adult students,” said COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “Our flexible programs and numerous resources have helped many adult learners reach their educational goals while juggling full-time jobs and family responsibilities. It is an honor to be included among the top 25 two-year colleges that provide a wide array of services for adult students.”
In Fall 2015, students age 25 and over made up 37 percent of COC’s student population.
Washington Monthly analyzed data from the College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges, Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System survey, as well as the department’s College Scorecard database to rank colleges using the following seven metrics:
* Ease of transfer/enrollment
* Flexibility of programs
* Services available for adult students
* The percentage of adult students at the college
* Mean earnings of adult students ten years after entering college
* Loan repayment rates of adult students five years after entering repayment
* Tuition and fees for in-district students.
On a scale of 19 possible points, COC scored 17 points—4 out of 4 for ease of transfer, 7 out of 9 for flexibility of programs, and 6 out of 6 for adult student services.
The article accompanying the rankings stated that although “more than 40 percent of the 20.2 million students attending American colleges and universities are adults,” many of the nation’s elite colleges, which top U.S. News’s rankings, “aren’t in the business of educating adults.” However, many four-year schools and two-year colleges, such as COC, provide affordable and flexible educational options to working adult students, such as short-term classes for students who wish to enroll in accelerated courses.
“By any measure, College of the Canyons achieves exceptional outcomes in student access and success,” Board of Trustees President Bruce Fortine said. “Our number of degrees awarded jumped by more than 20 percent between 2015 and 2016. With a wide range of classes, and outstanding support services, COC has established a reputation for putting students first and helping them achieve their goals.”
At COC, adult students benefit from the Weekend College program, which allows students to earn college credits in an accelerated learning community. It’s an ideal program for working adults and returning students who need to complete general education coursework and students who simply prefer to take classes during the weekend as opposed to a traditional schedule.
Weekend College consists of either in-person, online only and hybrid courses in English, psychology, political science, anthropology, counseling and math.
Another valuable resource for adult learners is the college’s Adult Reentry program, which helps new, returning, and continuing adult students who are 25 years of age and older. Reentering students can benefit from information sessions, support groups, continuous advisement, as well as campus and community referrals.
For students returning from military service, accessing the GI Bill to reach their educational goals is made easier with the help of the college’s Veteran’s Center. During the 2015-16 academic year, the college’s Veterans Resource Center served 1,253 veterans and veteran dependents.
Founded in 1969, Washington Monthly is a bi-monthly nonprofit magazine devoted to U.S. government and politics based in Washington, D.C. The magazine’s complete rankings appear in its September/October 2016 issue, which is available online at http://washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide.