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Progress Report from the Peralta Colleges on Accreditation Review

All four of the Peralta Colleges are fully accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) and remain so during a probationary period that began in January 2020.  We are pleased to report that the colleges of Peralta Community College District are making progress on removing their probationary status.   

 Accredited illustration

Each of the District’s four colleges--College of Alameda, Berkeley City College, Laney College and Merritt College--submitted evidence of financial performance improvement this monthon November 1st 2020, to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) to justify removal of probationary status. 


We believe the documents, evidence, and progress are convincing. We hope to hear back from ACCJC in the coming months after its review and will report their determination 


Each college has excellent programs and services that benefit students and our community and provide an outstanding, affordable education to the northern Alameda county community.   


As you may recall, the probationary status placed on the colleges this year by ACCJC was not about academics or education, but solely about finances and organizational matters. The ACCJC has required the colleges to provide additional evidence of financial improvement of each of the colleges. That is what they have done and we believe the reported results are excellent.  


Reports to ACCJC this month 


This month, each of the four colleges reported to ACCJC building enrollments and services to student through online winter and spring intersession offerings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, the campuses successfully conducted marketing and outreach campaigns to potential students seeking online instruction in California State University and University of California-transferable courses.  


Each of the four colleges noted increases in their individual Dual Enrollment Programs, which offers high school students an early start on their career technical education and opportunities to earn units toward their college degree. The colleges partner with high schools in Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda to promote educational equity by offering empowering, transformative educational experiences to local high school students. 


By increasing the colleges’ offerings to high schools these new enrollments hopefully mean these students will have already begun their college experience by the time they graduate high school, giving them both a head start in college as well as saving them money. 


Specifically, each college reported important individual initiatives of improved financial performance as part of the ACCJC report: 


Merritt College increased its Dual Enrollment Offerings through a College and Career Access Pathways agreement with the Oakland Unified School District. Cultivating strong working relationships with local high school counselors, principals, and leadership has been integral to the College’s success. Inviting these groups to the Merritt Campus (virtually) for seminars, professional development workshops, and open campus days for their students are key elements. The results have been impressive—over the last four academic terms (excluding summer) Merritt College’s Dual Enrollment FTES has constituted respectively 42.6% (Fall 2018), 44.5% (Spring 2019), 51.9% (Fall 2019), and 47.4% (Spring 2020) of the total Dual Enrollment FTES for the District, reported Merritt President Dr. David M. Johnson. 


Berkeley City College reported holding the highest transfer rates throughout the district.  Berkeley City College consistently transfers the highest numbers of students to the UC and CSU systems across the District, with the 2019-2020 data showing 289 transfers to a UC campus and 176 transfers to a CSU campus. Of the 289 transfers to a UC campus, 126 students transferred to UC Berkeley, which places the College as one of the highest producers of transfers to Berkeley, among students transferring to a UC campus.   In the 2018 – 2019 year, the College transferred 176 students to the CSU system. The combination of the curricular offerings, programmatic supports, and institutional focus on the implementation of Guided Pathways, all contribute to a campus culture of transfer completion, reported Dr. Angélica Garcia, President Berkeley City College. 


College of Alameda focused on building enrollments and service to student through fully-online winter and spring intersession offerings. To meet the demands of Peralta, CSU, and UC students the College has engaged in successful marketing and outreach campaigns to thousands of potential students seeking online instruction in CSU and UC transferrable courses. From the 2015-16 Academic Year, when we offered just 40 sections between the two intersessions with a total of 150.83 Full-Time Equivalent Students (FTES), we steadily increased until in the 2019-20 Academic Year and offered 67 intersession sections that provided instruction for 233.10 FTES.  The College continues to build its enrollment to a broader range of students through a new AB 288 College and Career Access Pathways agreement with Alameda Unified School District, and the creation of new noncredit certificates in ESOL, Making, and Tutor Training, reported Dr. Don Miller, Interim President, College of Alameda. 


Laney College has listened to student voices and built toward its participation in the Guided Pathways Statewide Mapper initiative, becoming the 9th of 33 participating colleges in the state to complete the project. As a result, students can now look at program options with full career information, including advancement possibilities, salary, and even job market demand for degrees and certificates.  Laney College also enhanced not only outreach but also dual enrollment with the Oakland Unified School District.  For Fall semester, Laney has increased its offerings in area high schools, and the enrollments will hopefully mean these students will have already begun their college experience by the time they graduate high school, reported Dr. Rudy Besikof, President of Laney College.  


In summary, the District and its colleges are on sound financial ground.  Both ACCJC and Moody’s have acknowledged earlier in 2020 that PCCD finances are in better shape now than a year ago. Both organizations recognize the considerable work that has been done to improve finances, that the early signs are promising that we are on the right path, said Dr. Carla Walter, Interim Chancellor of the Peralta Community College District.  

For further reading, here are links to each of the Special Reports that were submitted to ACCJC:


Tags: David M. Johnson, Angélica Garcia, Merritt College, College of Alameda, Laney College, Berkeley City College, Carla Walter, Rudy Besikof, Don Miller, Accreditation, ACCJC


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