Tag: college completion
LUMINA PRESIDENT ON INCREASING GRADUATION RATES
In February 2009, President Obama declared that “ … by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.” Around the same time, Lumina Foundation released its first strategic plan in 2009 with the goal that 60% of Americans obtain a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential by 2025—a goal Lumina now calls Goal 2025. Expansion of undergraduate enrollments and the need to improve degree-completion rates—essential in both the Obama plan and Goal 2025—call for recasting the role of American colleges and universities and system-level change to improve student access and success in higher education. Lumina President Jamie Merisotis observes in the New England Journal of Higher Education that there are significant obstacles that stand in the way of these attainment efforts.
The two greatest challenges facing post-secondary education in the United States are making college more affordable and increasing the number of adults with high-quality degrees and certificates. In my darker moments, both seem intractable. But when someone with the length of perspective and depth of understanding as Vincent Tinto shares what he’s learned over the past four decades, the prospect of gaining ground at least on the second of these challenges seems more likely.
In Completing College, Tinto offers a framework for organizing institutional policies and practices that the research on educational attainment and his experience with different types of colleges and universities suggest can positively influence student persistence and degree attainment. As with his own work the past couple of decades, Tinto is especially attentive to the actions that can improve the graduation rates of students from historically underrepresented groups.
The seven chapters in this compact volume are tightly constructed and lucidly crafted. The book opens with a well-researched, albeit familiar brief on why college matters to both individuals and the larger society followed by a succinct overview of the four institutional conditions Tinto asserts lead to completing a program of study. These are expectations, support, assessment and feedback, and involvement. The next four chapters explicate each of these conditions and illustrate what they look like when implemented in diverse postsecondary settings. The section on [End Page 339] innovative developmental education approaches in chapter 3 (Support) is especially strong.
The last two chapters represent the book’s major contribution to organizing for student success. Here, Tinto speaks plainly about who must do what if institutions are to make a difference in student performance. All the chapters but the first conclude with a short, pithy commentary, the substance of which can serve as organizing themes for faculty and staff development activities for promoting student success
OCCRL is pleased to announce the publication of a new book on college access and completion, edited by Laura Perna, Professor, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania and Anthony Jones, Deputy Director & Director of Policy Research, Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. The book, titled was recently published by .
Chapter authors include Debra Bragg, OCCRL Director, University of Illinois; as well as David Conley, University of Oregon; Jim Hearn, University of Georgia; Don Heller, Michigan State University; Don Hossler, University of Indiana; Bridget Terry Long, Harvard; Tatiana Melguizo, University of Southern California
The Project Win-Win has helped community colleges and four-year schools in several states find hundreds of ex-students who have either earned enough credits to receive associate degrees or are just a few classes shy of getting them. As the Lumina Foundation-backed project winds down, some participating schools plan to continue the effort on their own. (Huffington Post, 03/17/13)
A new National Student Clearinghouse Research Center report digs deeper into college graduation rates. It finds that of the 1.9 million students enrolled for the first time in all degree-granting institutions in fall 2006, 54% had graduated within six years. Another 16.1% were still enrolled in some sort of postsecondary program after six years, and 29.8% had dropped out altogether
Record shares of young adults are completing high school, going to college, and completing degrees, newly analyzed data from the Census Bureau reveals. Of the nation’s adults ages 25-29, data show that 90% have finished at least a high school education, 63% have completed at least some college, and 33% hold at least a bachelor’s degree. (Education Week
A National Student Clearinghouse Research Center report takes account of the circuitous but ultimately successful routes that students often take toward a college degree. When nontraditional patterns of enrollment are considered, the national completion rate jumps to 54%, from 42%. Among full-time students, 75% earn a degree or certificate within six years, but part-time students have much lower completion rates. (Chronicle of Higher Education, 11/15/12)
COMMITTING TO COMPLETE
If an incoming community college student were asked right off the bat to pledge to complete a degree or credential, in a moment of truth, would that student think of his promise before transferring or dropping out? What if thousands of others signed the same pledge? What if faculty and the president had signed one promising to do all they could to help the student complete? There’s no telling yet, but if all those components come together the way pledge architects hope they do, completion rates will be on the upswing within a couple of years. By that time, the first cohort of students to sign such a pledge will be due to earn associate degrees. The pledges are part of the commitment that six national community college organizations made in April 2010 to boost student completion rates by 50 percent during the next decade. About a year after those groups signed their own “Call to Action,” three of them — the American Association of Community Colleges, the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society — drafted versions to take to presidents, faculty and staff, and students, respectively. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
To take stock of where the college completion effort stands, the American Enterprise Institute pulled together essays from 11 researchers and policy analysts. The final product is the book Getting to Graduation: The Completion Agenda in Higher Education. In an e-mail interview, the editors jointly answer questions about what they see as key takeaways and common themes from the book.
The college completion agenda has helped community colleges face facts about where they fall short. But if the focus on completion gets too singular, two-year colleges run the risk of neglecting student access and even the quality of learning on their campuses. That was the message of a panel of community college leaders who spoke at a meeting