Established in 2009, Complete College America is a bold national advocate for dramatically increasing college completion rates and closing equity gaps by working with states, systems, institutions, and partners to scale highly effective structural reforms and promote policies that improve student success.
CCA envisions a nation where all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or familial educational achievement, have equal opportunities to access and complete a college education or credential of value because postsecondary institutions, policy makers, and systems of higher education welcome, invest in, and support these students through and to an on-time completion.
The need for this work is compelling. Between 1970 and 2009, undergraduate enrollment in the United States more than doubled, while the completion rate has been virtually unchanged. We’ve made progress in giving students from all backgrounds access to college – but we haven’t finished the all-important job of helping them achieve a degree. Counting the success of all students is an essential first step. And then we must move with urgency to reinvent American higher education to meet the needs of the new majority of students on our campuses, delicately balancing the jobs they need with the education they desire.
Complete College America believes there is great reason for optimism … and a clear path forward. With a little more support – and a lot of common sense – we can ensure that many more people get the high-quality college education that will help them live productive and fulfilling lives. All Americans will share in the benefits of their success.
Through research, advocacy, and technical assistance, we help states put in place the six Game Changers that will help all students succeed in college:
- 15 to Finish
- Math Pathways
- Corequisite Support
- Momentum Year
- Academic Maps with Proactive Advising
- A Better Deal for Returning Adults
Members of our Alliance have pledged to take bold actions to (1) significantly increase the number of students successfully completing college and achieving degrees and credentials with value in the labor market and (2) close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations.
CAREERS WITH CCA
Vice President, Development & Strategic Partnerships
Complete College America seeks an energetic, strategic and collaborative development leader with excellent relationship skills and demonstrated success in building capacity and increasing fundraising revenue, to become its Vice President for Development & Strategic Partnerships. Read the full description.
Director, Research & Evaluation
As Complete College America celebrates its tenth year of service and support to its 47-member Alliance, policymakers, and the higher education community, CCA is doubling down on its commitment to its data, research and evaluation capacities by hiring a national Director of Research & Evaluation. Toward this end, CCA is seeking a senior level research and evaluation professional who brings strategic leadership, trusted and credible research publications and processes, and adeptness with relationship building and collaboration to fill this role. Read the full description.
Rolling Content Expert Application
Looking to be a Content Expert? Learn more and apply.
Complete College America Strengthens Board With Four New Members
Estela Bensimon, Joe Garcia, Gary McGaha,and Gene Sharratt join CCA’s Board of Directors
Complete College America announced at its Annual Convening today the additions of Estela Bensimon, Ph.D., director of the Center for Urban Education at the University of Southern California, Joe Garcia, J.D., chancellor of the Colorado Community College System, Gary McGaha, Ph.D., former president of Atlanta Metropolitan State College, and Gene Sharratt, PhD., senior research associate at the Washington Student Achievement Council, to its board of directors.
“Millions of students across the U.S. face the same barriers to college completion—but the socioeconomic and cultural contexts in which these barriers exist vary greatly,” said CCA Board Chairman and former Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer. “Estela, Joe, Gary and Gene will help us better understand and tackle these complex and systemic issues that limit student success. They’ve devoted their careers to advancing the completion agenda, and we’re honored to have them on our board.”
Dr. Estela Mara Bensimon is a professor of Higher Education at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education and director of the Center for Urban Education(CUE), which she founded in 1999. Most notably, she is the creator of the Equity Scorecard, a tool which is designed to drive changes in institutional practice and culture to increase equity in higher ed outcomes for students of color. Dr. Bensimon was named an American Education Research Association fellow in 2011 and received the Association for the Study of Higher Education Research Achievement Award in 2013. She is also a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education. She was associate dean of the USC Rossier School of Education from 1996-2000 and was a Fulbright Scholar to Mexico in 2002. She earned her doctorate in Higher Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She’s held the highest leadership positions in the Association for the Study of Higher Education (President) and in the American Education Research Association Division on Postsecondary Education (Vice President). She has also served on the boards of the American Association for Higher Education and the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Joe Garcia serves as chancellor of the Colorado Community College System. Previously, he was president of The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Garcia left his dual role as Colorado lieutenant governor and executive director of the state’s Department of Higher Education to serve as president of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Before his inauguration as lieutenant governor in 2011 and 2015, Garcia was president of Colorado State University-Pueblo. During his four-year tenure, he helped the institution overcome financial difficulties and stagnant enrollment and enhanced its reputation. He also served as president of Colorado’s second-largest community college, Pikes Peak Community College. Garcia earned a business degree from the University of Colorado and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School. He began his career in 1983 with Holme Roberts & Owen, where he went on to become the first Hispanic partner in the 100-year history of the storied Denver law firm. In 1993, he joined former Gov. Roy Romer’s cabinet until his appointment in 1999 as the U.S. Department of Housing and Development’s regional director for the Rocky Mountain states. He joins CCA’s board as a CCA Fellow.
Dr. Gary McGaha worked in the University System of Georgia (USG) for more than 25 years before retiring as president of Atlanta Metropolitan State College (AMSC) in 2019. He became president of Atlanta Metropolitan College in 2007 after serving as interim president. During his tenure, Dr. McGaha increased the number of baccalaureate degree programs and increased enrollment by 30 percent. He also improved associate degree graduation rate to become the best in its sector within USG. During his time at AMSC, he also served as chair of the college’s Social Sciences Division. Prior to his work with USG, Dr. McGaha also served as academic dean for the Dunwoody and Alpharetta campuses of Georgia Perimeter College. Additionally, he served as executive assistant to the president at Kentucky State University and at Morehouse School of Medicine. Dr. McGaha holds a doctorate in political science from the University of Mississippi, a master’s degree in political science from Bowling Green State University and a bachelor’s degree in social science from Mississippi Valley State University.
Dr. Gene Sharratt is a senior associate at the Washington Student Achievement Council. Previously, he served as executive director for the Association for Educational Service Districts and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Professional Learning Network in June 2019, following three years of service. Prior to his work with the AESD, Dr. Sharratt served for three years on Governor Inslee’s Cabinet as executive director of the Washington Student Achievement Council. The Council is the lead state agency bringing together all sectors of the state’s education system–early learning through higher education–to improve access, attainment, and outcomes for all Washingtonians.Before joining the Governor’s Cabinet, Dr. Sharratt spent ten years as a clinical associate college professor for Washington State University. He served thirty years as a K-12 teacher, principal, school superintendent, and ESD superintendent in international and public schools, with experiences in Washington, Alaska,and Norway. Dr. Sharratt is the recipient of the National Educational Administrator of the Year Award and several alumni, lifetime achievement and teaching awards.He earned his Ph.D. in Educational and Instructional Leadership from Washington State University and his master’s in School Counseling and Guidance Services from Pacific Lutheran University.
CCA Fellows are a select group of the Alliance’s most respected and accomplished content experts and thought partners. As leaders in their respective areas, they have dedicated themselves to student success, embracing bold reform and implementing CCA's Game Changer strategies. They work closely with CCA, sharing their knowledge with the Alliance, and come together to confront and overcome higher education's greatest challenges.