Skip to main content
Back to Results
Cover image of The Costs of Completion
Cover image of The Costs of Completion
Share this Title:

The Costs of Completion

Student Success in Community College

Robin G. Isserles

Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy

To improve community college success, we need to consider the lived realities of students.

Our nation's community colleges are facing a completion crisis. The college-going experience of too many students is interrupted, lengthening their time to completing a degree—or worse, causing many to drop out altogether. In The Costs of Completion, Robin G. Isserles contextualizes this crisis by placing blame on the neoliberal policies that have shaped public community colleges over the past thirty years. The disinvestment of state funding, she explains, has created austerity conditions, leading to an…

To improve community college success, we need to consider the lived realities of students.

Our nation's community colleges are facing a completion crisis. The college-going experience of too many students is interrupted, lengthening their time to completing a degree—or worse, causing many to drop out altogether. In The Costs of Completion, Robin G. Isserles contextualizes this crisis by placing blame on the neoliberal policies that have shaped public community colleges over the past thirty years. The disinvestment of state funding, she explains, has created austerity conditions, leading to an overreliance on contingent labor, excessive investments in advisement technologies, and a push to performance outcomes like retention and graduation rates for measuring student and institutional success.

The prevailing theory at the root of the community college completion crisis—academic momentum—suggests that students need to build momentum in their first year by becoming academically integrated, thereby increasing their chances of graduating in a timely fashion. A host of what Isserles terms "innovative disruptions" have been implemented as a way to improve on community college completion, but because disruptions are primarily driven by degree attainment, Isserles argues that they place learning and developing as afterthoughts while ignoring the complex lives that define so many community college students.

Drawing on more than twenty years of teaching, advising, and researching largely first-generation community college students as well as an analysis of five years of student enrollment patterns, college experiences, and life narratives, Isserles takes pains to center students and their experiences. She proposes initiatives created in accordance with a care ethic, which strive to not only get students through college—quantifying credit accumulation and the like—but also enable our most precarious students to flourish in a college environment. Ultimately, The Costs of Completion offers a deeper, more complex understanding of who community college students are, why and how they enroll, and what higher education institutions can do to better support them.

Jump to
Quick Add
The Costs of Completion

Robin G. Isserles

Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy
Related

Related Books

Cover image of Austerity Blues
Austerity Blues

Michael Fabricant and Stephen Brier

$32.00
Quick Add
Austerity Blues

Michael Fabricant and Stephen Brier

Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of What's the Point of College?
What's the Point of College?

Johann N. Neem

$22.95
Quick Add
What's the Point of College?

Johann N. Neem

Publication Date
Binding Type
Preorder
Cover image of Shortchanged
Shortchanged

Annie Abrams

$24.95
Quick Add
Shortchanged

Annie Abrams

Publication Date: April 25, 2023
Binding Type
Preorder
Cover image of Reparative Universities
Reparative Universities

Ariana González Stokas

$34.95
Quick Add
Reparative Universities

Ariana González Stokas

Publication Date: March 28, 2023
Binding Type
Preorder
Cover image of Universities on Fire
Universities on Fire

Bryan Alexander

$34.95
Quick Add
Universities on Fire

Bryan Alexander

Publication Date: March 28, 2023
Binding Type
Reviews

Reviews

Robin Isserles offers a sociological perspective of community college through the lens of a scholar and practitioner who has been engaged in these contexts for decades. Full of rich data and insider insights from different angles, this book is a much-needed examination of power dynamics related to community colleges as well as the narratives surrounding students and teachers.

This book does a wonderful job of unlocking the complex web of reforms, actors, and initiatives that aim to help community college students complete college.

Higher education often forgets that Maslow comes before Bloom, and that students are humans first. These ideas, central to the #RealCollege movement, are centered in Robin Isserles's new book, which deepens our understandings and in turn our efforts to support the whole community college student. Every edu-reformer should pause and read this book.

Professor Isserles provides a wake-up call to all laboring for community college student success. Underscoring ways in which researchers unwittingly gloss the cornucopia of student lives, Professor Isserles provides a corrective analysis that enables policy makers and practitioners to reconstruct community colleges so that they address the multiplicity of student needs.

Isserles provides the most comprehensive discussion of community colleges to date. By examining programs like the Excelsior program and for-profit partnerships, Isserles paints a nuanced picture of how all areas of academia touch community colleges. At its heart, it is a reminder that diverse, well-rounded, and progressive education is essential.

See All Reviews
About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
352
ISBN
9781421442075
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Chapter 1. Neoliberalism Ascending: Persistence, Completion, and Student Success in the College for All Era
Chapter 2. Metrics for Success: Austerity, Accountability, and the New Edu

Acknowledgments
Chapter 1. Neoliberalism Ascending: Persistence, Completion, and Student Success in the College for All Era
Chapter 2. Metrics for Success: Austerity, Accountability, and the New Edu-philanthropists
Chapter 3. Making Sense of the Data: Institutional Success as Degree Completion
Chapter 4. Challenging Narrow Definitions of Success: What Is the Student Sensibility?
Chapter 5. The Student Sensibility and Structural Exclusion: It's Not about Grit
Chapter 6. Early Interactions in Community College: The Marketing of Guided Pathways Meets the Student Sensibility
Chapter 7. Addressing the Crisis: Creating the Community College as an Authentic Caring Institution
Notes
References
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Robin G. Isserles

Robin G. Isserles is a professor of sociology at the Borough of Manhattan Community College of the City University of New York.