Essential Steps & Model Policies
Lead, Measure, Act, Innovate
In just 10 years, six of 10 new jobs will require a college education, but currently, only half of all students who enter college graduate.
Complete College America has set a goal that by 2020, six out of 10 young adults in our country will have a college degree or certificate of value.
Forty percent now. Sixty percent by 2020. We will not close this gap by standing still or tinkering around the edges. Complete College America’s Essential Steps explain how states can implement systemic reforms and innovative policies to significantly increase college completion. Our Model Policies demonstrate how states can take action now.
We invite you to learn why these steps are essential to enhance student success and significantly boost completions – and then challenge you to deploy many of the model state policies provided in the links marked TAKE ACTION.
Lead, Measure, Act, Innovate: Now is the time for states to take bold action on college completion.
A statewide goal enables stakeholders to focus time and resources on a common effort, encouraging all to use the same yardstick to evaluate progress and celebrate success. A goal should be ingrained in a state’s completion plan, communicated clearly and publicly, and pursued by all institutions and key partners with a deep sense of shared responsibility.
Common metrics empower leaders to use data to diagnose the obstacles students face and identify opportunities for improvement. And they reveal progress as soon as it’s made, encouraging students and schools to stay on track or make adjustments quickly. Most important, good metrics help hold everyone involved — students, institutions, systems, and the state — accountable for success.
Funding should shift from simply rewarding enrollment to valuing outcomes, such as credentials awarded or classes successfully completed. Funding is a powerful incentive, and rewarding performance allows states to align their fiscal policies with statewide goals for workforce development and economic prosperity. TAKE ACTION
The shortest path to a degree or certificate is the best one. Increased time to degree reduces the chances that students will complete college. Further, delays increase costs to both the students and the state. By designing clear paths for students to complete degree or certificate programs more efficiently, states can help more students earn degrees and control costs for both students and taxpayers. TAKE ACTION
Students who show up for college are too often told that they're not ready for college-level work. Yet a long sequence of remedial courses that do not count toward a degree can be discouraging, expensive, and ultimately lead to a dead end. Fewer than 25 percent of community college students who are placed into remedial education ever receive a degree or certificate. Remedial education should be transformed, focusing on targeting, tailoring, and time. TAKE ACTION
Today’s students are more likely to work while they attend college, take classes part-time, and commute to campus. But while college students have changed dramatically, more often than not, degree and certificate programs are still delivered just as they have been for generations. We need significantly different delivery structures that are designed for the students we have on our campuses today. TAKE ACTION