California community colleges set record for degrees, certificates

Brice Harris, above, is chancellor of California Community Colleges, the nation's largest community college system.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

The number of students who received a degree or certificate from a California community college hit a record high last year and more of them completed remedial math and English courses, officials announced this week.

More than 190,000 students earned a degree or certificate in the 2013-14 academic year, representing an increase of 40% from four years earlier, according to state statistics. The previous record was nearly 170,000 a year earlier.

The number of students who completed remedial courses over a six-year period also increased slightly in 2012-13 — the latest academic year measured — compared with the previous year. About 44% of students finished remedial English courses and 31% completed remedial math classes.

Enrollment in the system increased by about 15,000 students last year after four years of declines. The state’s community colleges taught nearly 2 million people in 2013-14.


California’s 112-campus community college system, the nation’s largest, lost nearly 600,000 students during the recession.

“Though we still have much more work to do, we are on the right path,” said Brice W. Harris, chancellor of the system.

The number of students who received degrees that guaranteed them admission to California State University campuses doubled from the previous year: Nearly 12,000 received associate in arts and associate in science transfer degrees.

During the recession, the two-year college system reduced class offerings, and many students were unable to enroll in courses needed for graduation. The system has struggled to provide enough remedial classes for the high numbers of students who need them, and the dropout rate also has been high.


Twitter: @latjasonsong