Pushing New Record, More than 142,000 Community College Students Expected to Earn a Degree or Certificate in 2018-19 Academic Year

June 11, 2019

Christina Jimenez 

cjimenez@cccco.edu 

T 916.322.4004 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley today congratulated the more than 142,000 students expected to earn a degree or certificate this academic year, pushing the college system toward a new record for the number of students earning credentials.

Last academic year, a record 142,026 students earned some type of college credential at a California community college, with 113,662 students earning an associate degree and 85 students earning a bachelor’s degree. In addition 66,472 students earned certificates. Final tallies for the 2018-19 academic year are expected to surpass those figures. “This is a testament to the tremendous talent of our diverse students and the hard work and dedication of faculty and staff at our colleges. This further demonstrates that the community college system is the most powerful force for social and economic mobility in California,” said Chancellor Oakley. “It has been a pleasure to participate in several commencement celebrations across the state this spring.” 
 
Put in perspective, the number of students earning credentials this year is the largest of any system of higher education in the country and is roughly equivalent to the number of people who live in the city of Fullerton. 
 
“Many California Community College students overcome huge obstacles to complete their degrees,” said California Community Colleges Board of Governors President Tom Epstein. “Our graduates will be skilled, reliable workers for any employer in California, as well as high achieving students if they transfer to a four-year college or university.” 
 
Increasing the number of students who earn a credential is a key goal of the California Community Colleges’ Vision for Success. The strategic guide lays out ambitious goals for increasing transfer to four-year colleges and universities, closing achievement gaps for historically underrepresented students, and increasing the number of students who gain jobs in their fields of study. 
 
Students who complete an associate degree more than double their annual pre-degree earnings after two years in the workforce and nearly triple their pre-degree earnings after five years in the workforce, according to data from Salary Surfer, a California Community Colleges’ online wage tracking tool. About 48 percent of students who graduated with an associate degree annually earned at least $56,000 five years after receiving their award.  
 
Students who complete a certificate nearly double their pre-degree earnings after five years in the workforce. And, about 44 percent of students who graduated with a certificate annually earned at least $56,000 five years after graduating.   
 
The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 115 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; degree and certificate pathways; and basic skills education in English and math. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports the Vision for Success , a strategic plan designed to improve student success outcomes, increase transfer rates and eliminate achievement gaps. For more information, please visit the California Community Colleges web site or follow us on Facebook and Twitter