American Dreams Are Powered By College Completion
Complete College America is at the center of a movement to restore the promise of higher education as the most powerful way to advance social mobility, economic opportunity, and racial justice. We advocate for policy change, create new conditions on campuses, and support the implementation of student success strategies so more students can reach their goal of attaining a college degree or valued workplace credential.
CCA has a long history of identifying and sharing evidence-based strategies that improve college success. From new remediation approaches to structured course pathways, we’re committed to helping colleges and universities create student-centered campuses that remove unnecessary barriers to degrees completion. In 2020, we defined 4 pillars of success—and a set of corresponding strategies—that must be at the center of all student-centered higher education systems.
Advancing state, system and institutional policy that increases graduation rates.
Building student-centered campuses committed to eliminating barriers to graduation.
Identifying, promoting, and implementing strategies that transform the student experience.
Students thrive when their “why” is clear. We’re working to help students define a clear purpose and align the college experience to each student's goals for the future.
Develop structures to connect students with resources that foster their academic and career goals.
Make information on careers readily available to all students, empowering them to make informed decisions about programs of study that meets their skills, aptitudes, and aspirations.
Academic & Career Alignment
Create a clear connection between learning taking place in the classroom and the competencies associated with careers.
Adult Learner Engagement
Proactively communicate the value of a higher education degree to address the unique needs and goals of adults.
We must design multiple avenues for students to get started, earn credits faster, and stay on track to graduate. As students feel confident given their progress, they are better equipped to weather the challenges that arise.
Credit for Competency
Recognize the prior learning, skills, and knowledge that students possess and establish mechanisms to award appropriate credits.
Consider a variety of placement options that include high school grade point average to provide more ways for students to take a college-level class in their first semester.
Design structures and pedagogical approaches for students needing or requesting additional support to succeed in college-level foundational math and English courses that allow students to complete requirements in a single academic term.
Provide high school students opportunities to take college classes while they are still in high school so they can get an early start on college.
15 to Finish/Stay on Track
Invest in coordinated communications efforts and structural solutions to match student credit loads with the credits needed for on-time graduation for both part-time and full-time students.
We help institutions build course road maps that make the path to a degree or valued workplace credential clear. By providing structure, institutions can help students focus on learning.
Identify the appropriate gateway math course that is aligned with the skills students need for their chosen program of study.
Provide students with opportunities to explore related programs of study that allow them to make more informed and deliberate decisions about their majors, while making progress towards their degrees.
Academic Maps & Milestones
Delineate the path to graduation and highlight significant milestones that contribute to student success in a clear and comprehensive format.
Design schedules that contribute to degree progression and meet the needs of all students.
Stackable Certificates & Credentials
Create competency-driven structures that encourage lifelong learning and attainment of degrees of value.
There are lots of things that can get in the way of student success. By addressing student needs and removing barriers, we can ensure students have the best chance at success.
Active Academic Support
Provide students with programs and services to help them develop the academic skills needed to be successful.
Require advisors to take a preemptive approach that anticipates and helps eliminate concerns, roadblocks, and barriers affecting student success. Through strategic and consistent outreach, ensure advisors are a resource for students, working with them to create a holistic plan for a timely graduation.
Provide students with a designated coach to contact whenever issues arise in and outside of the classroom. Train coaches to work with students to find answers, identify appropriate resources, and advocate or intervene on their behalf.
Student Basic Needs Support
Ensure that students have access to food, housing, childcare, physical and mental health services, financial assistance, and transportation.
A New Way Forward
CCA is committed to college success for every student, but we know higher education wasn’t designed with every student in mind. The barriers to degree attainment—rooted in structural racism and inequality—have a disproportionate effect on Black, Latinx, first-generation, adult, and low-income learners. Our work focuses on advancing strategies that give all students the purpose, momentum, structure, and support they need to build on their talents and succeed in college and beyond. Join us in reigniting the promise of college success and providing a pathway for all students to achieve their dreams.