This report addresses the problem of excessive time-to-degree for many students at public regional universities and examines strategies and practices leaders can use to support timely degree completion, especially for low-income students. The report provides many examples of institutions that have used these strategies, describes available evidence of their effectiveness, addresses potential challenges to implementation, and offers recommendations to university leaders interested in using these practices to improve timely graduation. This report is part of HCM Strategists’ Maximizing Resources for Student Success project that is aimed at making college more affordable.
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From Community College to University: Expectations for California’s New Transfer Degrees
This report, written by IHELP for the Public Policy Institute of California, analyzes the progress of the California Community Colleges’ “associate degrees for transfer” that were created as a result of state-enacted legislation in 2010. The degrees are designed to facilitate community college students’ admission to the California State University system and ease completion of a bachelor’s degree. The report finds the reform is leading to the development of clearer transfer pathways for students, although challenges remain, and offers recommendations for improving the implementation effort. Click here for the technical appendix.
A New Vision for California Higher Education: A Model Public Agenda
This report draws on various reports and other sources of information to construct a model public agenda to address the mounting challenges facing California higher education, intended to inspire broad discussion potentially leading to an official public agenda for California higher education. The model envisions region-based planning and heightened collaboration at the regional level, guided by effective state-level policy leadership and high-level staff support to fulfill critical fiscal, advisory, and accountability roles.
Next Generation Learning Challenges Innovation Briefs
This publication series, written by IHELP and funded and published by EDUCAUSE, looks at the strategies and tools used by Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) grant recipients to implement their new “breakthrough model” schools. NGLC is an initiative to improve postsecondary readiness and completion by identifying and scaling technology-enabled approaches to secondary and postsecondary education, especially for low-income students.
Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda – Part IV: Aligning Policy with Mission for Better Outcomes
This report is the culmination of a four-part series on career technical education in the California Community Colleges. Based on a comprehensive analysis of potential barriers to more effective CTE, the report offers a set of suggestions for policy changes intended as a resource for the community college system as it continues to work to improve student success.
Washington State Student Achievement Initiative Policy Study: Final Report
This report, jointly produced by IHELP and the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University, analyzes the impact of the Washington State Student Achievement Initiative (SAI) on college efforts to improve student outcomes and on student outcomes. SAI, a policy adopted by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, draws on intermediate measures of student progress to reward colleges for improvements in student achievement. This three-year evaluation includes both data analysis and extensive interviewing of faculty and staff.
Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda – Part III: Promising CTE Policies from Across the States
This report is the third in the four-part series on career technical education in the California Community Colleges. It examines policies in other states that might offer helpful lessons for shaping CTE in California to better meet student and employer needs. It provides examples in the following five policy areas: degree and certificate programs offered; curriculum structure and delivery; high school – community college – workplace pathways; financing CTE – college and student costs; and accountability.
Measuring Institutional Conditions that Support Student Success in the California Community Colleges
This report, prepared by IHELP for the University of California All Campus Consortium on Research for Diversity (UC/ACCORD), looks at the opportunities and challenges in measuring institutional conditions that support student success. The report draws from the literature and ongoing research to describe the significant challenges in identifying, defining and measuring indicators of supportive institutional conditions in the community colleges. It offers a list of possible indicators and existing sources of data that could be used as a “starting point” in defining a set that could fairly and accurately capture the conditions at a particular institution.
Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda – Parts I and II (summarized)
This policy brief is a summary of the first two reports in a series on career technical education in the California Community Colleges. The first report analyzes the complex organizational structure and funding arrangements for the CTE mission and the closely related economic and workforce development mission, while the second report examines the full set of career-technical certificate and associate degree programs offered by the CCC. The brief identifies key issues discussed in the two reports that will need to be addressed as efforts proceed to increase the effectiveness of CTE.
Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda – Part II: Inventory and Analysis of CTE Programs in the California Community Colleges
This report is the second in the four-part series on career technical education in the California Community Colleges. It examines the full set of career-technical certificate and associate degree programs offered across the system as a basis for understanding how well the CTE programs are meeting students’ needs to identify, enroll in, and complete programs with real value in today’s labor market. In the report, researchers evaluate the findings against a set of criteria, based on a literature review, that characterize an effective CTE mission and identify key issues that will need to be addressed to increase the effectiveness of CTE.
Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda – Part I: Structure and Funding of Career Technical Education in the California Community College
This report is the first in a four-part series on career technical education in the California Community Colleges. It describes the complex organizational structure and funding arrangements for the CTE mission and the closely related economic and workforce development mission. It offers a set of criteria, based on a literature review, that characterize an effective CTE mission and identifies five key issues that will need to be addressed as efforts proceed to increase the effectiveness of CTE in the California Community Colleges.
Sense of Direction: The Importance of Helping Community College Students Select and Enter a Program of Study
This report examines the importance of declaring and entering an academic program of study for community college student success and completion. Researchers track an entering cohort of community college students over a six-year period through programs of study to completion of a certificate, associate degree or transfer to a university. The study used student course patterns to identify those who entered a program of study in 21 program areas across the liberal arts and sciences and career technical education, and found that entering a program of study is an important milestone on the path to college completion.
Highlights of Findings on Latino Student Success
This one-page brief highlights the findings regarding Latinos in California in the IHELP report, Divided We Fail: Improving Completion and Closing Racial Gaps in California’s Community Colleges. It was prepared at the request of Excelencia in Education to complement their series of reports on Latino college completion.
Performance Incentives to Improve Community College Completion: Learning from Washington State’s Student Achievement Initiative
This policy brief, jointly produced by IHELP and the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University, offers lessons to date about the Student Achievement Initiative (SAI), a policy adopted by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges that draws on intermediate measures of student progress to reward colleges for improvements in student achievement. The brief examines policy choices that Washington faced in designing and implementing SAI, the choices that leaders in other states will confront when considering adopting performance incentive policies as a means to improve student outcomes.
The Road Less Traveled: Realizing the Potential of Career Technical Education in the California Community Colleges
This report examines four high-wage, high-need career pathways in the California Community Colleges as a basis for exploring the career technical education mission and its role in the college completion agenda. The study found that the potential of CTE to help meet the state’s completion, workforce, and equity goals is not fully realized due to a lack of priority on awarding technical certificates and degrees and an absence of clear pathways for students to follow in pursuing those credentials. The report offers recommendations to strengthen the CTE function.
Divided We Fail in LA: Improving Completion and Closing Racial Gaps in the Los Angeles Community College District
This report applies the approach used in Divided We Fail to the nine colleges of the Los Angeles Community College District. The study tracked the 2003-04 entering cohort of degree- and certificate-seeking students over six years, analyzing their progress along a series of intermediate milestones and completion outcomes by race/ethnicity. The report points out the risks posed by racial/ethnic disparities and offers recommendations for changes to policy and practice with a goal of improving student success, especially among underrepresented minority populations.
Divided We Fail: Improving Completion and Closing Racial Gaps in California’s Community Colleges
This report analyzes the progress and outcomes of degree- and certificate-seeking students in the California Community College system. The study tracked the 2003-04 entering cohort over six years, analyzing their progress along a series of intermediate milestones and completion outcomes by race/ethnicity. The report emphasizes that low completion rates and continued racial/ethnic disparities pose serious risks to the state’s future prosperity and offers recommendations for changes to policy and practice with a goal of improving student success, especially among underrepresented minority populations.
Prerequisite Policy in the California Community Colleges
This brief examines proposed changes to prerequisite policy in the California Community Colleges. It discusses the challenges faced by the CCC regarding under-prepared students and the current trends in other states to increase the success of under-prepared students. A written statement containing this information was presented to the CCC Board of Governors.
Beyond the Rhetoric: Improving College Readiness Through Coherent State Policy
his policy brief, jointly produced by the Southern Regional Education Board and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, examines the college readiness problem and offers recommendations to help government and educational leaders strengthen their efforts to lessen the college readiness gap. IHELP Director Nancy Shulock participated in the workgroup that produced the report, which analyzes the causes of the college readiness gap and discusses how states could better address the problem.
Advancing by Degrees – A Framework for Increasing College Completion
This report, produced by IHELP for The Education Trust, offers higher education leaders guidance on using data to monitor student progress and applying the results to inform changes in policy and practice to help more students earn degrees. The report describes a framework of milestones, or intermediate educational achievements that students reach along the path to degree completion, and on-track indicators, or academic and enrollment patterns that are related to a greater likelihood of graduation. The report uses data from the State University System of Florida and the California Community Colleges to demonstrate how the framework can be used in two-year and four-year institutions to diagnose where and why students fall off the path to success and to make changes in policy and practice to increase degree completion.