Are Community Colleges Going the Distance? A Descriptive Analysis of Student Support Services for Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee Community Colleges
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Purpose: This study describes the quality of community college support services available online in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee using Cherry Beth Luedtke's (1999) student support services model. These states lend themselves to the research because of a lingering legacy of "separate but equal" education policy. In addition, community colleges disproportionately serve low-income students. As community based higher education, community colleges in these states are uniquely equipped to meet higher education needs of African-Americans.
Method: This research, content analysis, uses to analyze online support services for web-based learners at Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee community colleges. A total of fifty-eight community colleges in the four states constitute a sampling frame.
Findings: Overall community colleges in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee exceed the benchmark in many services within information/Technical Support and Admissions elements in the conceptual framework. Nevertheless, the areas of online advising and counseling, assessment, registration and other support services need improvement. College advising and counseling can mean the difference between a student's success and failure. Community colleges should focus on improving these services.