Design principles to support student success and scale effective higher education practices



Core Principles for Transforming Remediation within a Comprehensive Student Success Strategy highlights practices such as placing the vast majority of students directly into credit-bearing work with effective support; refining mathematical and other academic content to align with each student’s choice of academic direction; and helping students stay on track to a college credential.

The principles expand upon a document released three years ago in response to outdated practices for helping students master remedial (pre-college level) content. Roughly half of all undergraduates and 70 percent of community college students take at least one remedial course and only a quarter of those students graduate within eight years.

“This represents a transition from a system that served some students well to a system that serves all students well,” said Uri Treisman, a Distinguished Senior Fellow for Education Commission of the States and mathematician and founder of the Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin.

“We’ve described the principles we see in common across this work and why it is especially promising for students from low-income and underserved populations. We want to add momentum and legitimacy to the work and embolden leaders to bring it to scale,” said Treisman.

The authors of the document are Achieving the Dream; American Association of Community Colleges; Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin; Complete College America; Education Commission of the States; and Jobs for the Future.

“In our outreach and consultation with state policy leaders, we’re seeing a distinct trend among states in moving this work forward — which is great news for students, colleges and the economy.” Brian Sponsler, Director of Postsecondary and Workforce Development, Education Commission of the States

A diverse set of states and major postsecondary organizations have already endorsed the principles as a path forward to significantly improve student success rates, and next month a group of leading philanthropies will meet with the authors to explore areas for collaboration.

A research and learning agenda has also been developed to strengthen and support implementation of the principles.

Additional information, including the full text of the Core Principles document, can be viewed at

Contact information:

  • Uri Treisman, 512-471-6190, Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin
  • Karen Stout, 240-450-0075, Achieving the Dream
  • Kay McClenney, 512-470-3397, American Association of Community Colleges
  • Stan Jones, 317-829-0483, Complete College America
  • Brian Sponsler, 303-299-3615, Education Commission of the States
  • Michael Collins, 617-728-4446, Jobs for the Future

Endorsing States and Organizations
Achieving the Dream
American Association of Community Colleges
American Association of State Colleges and Universities
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Center for Community College Student Engagement
Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin
Complete College America
Education Commission of the States
Jobs for the Future
NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education

States & Organizations within States
California – Central Valley Higher Education Consortium
Colorado – Colorado Department of Higher Education
DC – University of District of Columbia Community College
Georgia – University System of Georgia
Hawaii – University of Hawai’i System
Illinois – Illinois Board of Higher Education
Indiana – Indiana Commission for Higher Education
Kentucky – Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education
Maryland – Maryland Higher Education Commission
Missouri – Missouri Department of Higher Education
Montana – Montana University System
New Mexico – New Mexico Department of Higher Education
Northern Marianas Islands-Northern Marianas College
Ohio – Ohio Department of Higher Education
Oklahoma – Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
Rhode Island – Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner
Tennessee – Tennessee Board of Regents
West Virginia – West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission