Complete College of America (CCA) is pushing for educational reform that is structural and systemic to help solve the college completion crisis in the United States. CCA President Stan Jones asserts that only 4% of full-time students complete an associate’s within two years, and only 19% of students at four-year schools complete their bachelor’s on time.
This delay in completing degrees negatively affects students’ finances. CCA’s 2014 report, Four-Year Myth, claims a two-year student loses more than $50,000 due to extra expenses, tuition, lost wages, and more. This number increases by $20,000 for four-year students (CCA).
Jones listed out game changer strategies that have shown positive results in several schools and asked Congress to consider taking action to help:
The remediation in a co-req course can be structured as an extra class to go along with the credit-bearing class, additional lab time, or a short remediation class lasting partway through the semester that is then followed by the regular class.
One success story CCA detailed to the Senate includes how math classes in the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia had success rates increase from 14% using a traditional model to 62% using co-req remediation.
Fifteen to Finish
Many students are not taking enough credit hours each term to graduate on time. This campaign encourages students to take on 15 credits per semester. With the help of this initiative, more than half the students at Indiana University – Purdue University, Indianapolis, are enrolling in enough credits to graduate on time. The year before, only 28% of students were doing so (Jones, CCA).
Guided Pathways to Success (GPS)
This movement helps students choose a more direct path when they enter college to help ensure they take courses that count toward their degrees and major requirements. Students have semester-by-semester plans to more fully understand what they need to complete to get their degrees on time.
One example of success is Arizona State University increasing on‐time graduation rates by almost 16% using GPS techniques.
Because many students don’t complete degrees on time because they cannot juggle hectic work and family schedules that can be unpredictable and change at the drop of a hat, this initiative encourages students to attend full-time if they are able. The structured schedule makes it so a student attends class at the same times and days to create stability.
At the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology, this initiative has helped the school’s 75% (or higher) graduation rate for career certificates.
Performance funding allows institutions to receive state funding based on factors including student success in remedial classes, degree completion, and more, instead of enrollment numbers. Twenty-six states have implemented or are currently implementing this type of funding (Jones, CCA).
Check out CCA President Stan Jones’s testimony below: