Thursday, August 5, 2010

Boosting college completion: some state-level strategies

Complete College America is a serious push to get attention ensuring that college students don't just enroll, but actually earn a degree or another credential of real value.  In recent years, American higher education has made far more progress on access than on graduation.

One major emphasis of their approach is on telling students frankly that starting late and going part-time lowers their chances of ever graduating, and encouraging them to make the added push to graduating on-time or early.

Here are some examples of state policies shared in their great three-page analysis (download here) of how states can "Reduce Time and Accelerate Success:
• "Full-time enrollment in Connecticut community colleges increased dramatically when colleges began using full-time enrollment status as the default when they processed students’ financial aid applications. The strategy shows students that attending college full-time is often more affordable than they expect."
• "Texas has a two-step approach to cracking down on credit creep (students’ earning unnecessary and excessive credits): First, the college or university loses its state subsidy for students who exceed a certain credit-hour threshold. Second, students are charged out-of-state tuition if they exceed limits for repeating courses or if they take classes that are “substantively identical” to ones they have completed."
• "North Carolina adds a surcharge to tuition for students who exceed a certain number of credit hours in a four-year degree program."
• "Florida enshrined a number of acceleration mechanisms in state policy, including dual enrollment (allowing students to earn college credit while in high school), early admission, credit by examination, and Advanced Placement/ International Baccalaureate credit. All of these acceleration models are made possible through a common course- numbering system that also allows credit from two-year colleges to be easily transferred to four-year institutions."
• "Tennessee is establishing a common core associate degree curriculum consisting of 41 hours of general education courses and 19 hours of pre- major courses. Completing an associate degree will ensure junior-level status at any public four-year institution in the state with all credits guaranteed to transfer."

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!