The Game Changers
Systemic reforms. Significant results. More college graduates.

For more graduates, do this!

Double the number of remedial students successfully completing gateway courses. Triple the graduation rates for students transferring with associate degrees. Quadruple the successful completion of career certificate programs. In a time when only about half of today’s college students graduate and when our nation faces a skills gap that holds us back and threatens our future — we need results like these more than ever.
4% complete an associate degree at a 2-year college within 2 years
19% complete a degree at a 4-year university within 4 years (non-flagship)

We have studied the research, evaluated the data, and searched the nation for best practices. Whether it’s poorly designed and delivered remedial courses, a culture that rewards enrollment instead of completion, broken credit transfer policies, or a system out of touch with the needs of today’s busy college students — we have a clear path forward based on proven results.

If we are going to prepare more of today’s students to meet the challenges of tomorrow, we need to implement these five Game Changer strategies, and we need to do it now. The stakes are too high for us to waste any more time.

But game changers don’t spontaneously happen: They are caused by people who act boldly and decisively in response to challenges. Read more about each game changer to find out what YOU can do to make them happen. And learn what some of your peers already are doing.
Performance Funding Pay for performance, not just enrollment. Use the Complete College America and National Governors Association metrics to tie state funding to student progression through programs and completion of degrees and certificates. Include financial incentives to encourage the success of low-income students and the production of graduates in high-demand fields.
Corequisite Remediation Default many more unprepared students into college-level gateway courses with mandatory, just-in-time instructional support. Combine reading and writing instruction. Align mathematics to programs of study, matching the curriculum to real-world career needs. For many more unprepared students, provide remedial help parallel to highly structured coursework.
Full-Time is 15 Incentivize students to attend full-time and ensure that full-time means 15 credits per semester. Use banded tuition so 15 credits per semester cost students no more than 12 credits. Cap degree credit requirements (120 for bachelor’s and 60 for associate) to ensure degrees can be completed on time. Ensure college credits can be transferred.
Structured Schedules Help working students balance jobs and school by using structured scheduling of classes to add predictability to their busy lives — doing so enables many more students to attend college full-time, shortening their time to completion.
Guided Pathways to Success (GPS) Enabled by technology, default all students into highly structured degree plans, not individual courses. Start students in a limited number of “meta majors,” which narrow into majors. Map out every semester of study for the entire program, and guarantee that milestone courses will be available when needed. Use built-in early warning systems to alert advisers when students fall behind to ensure efficient intervention.