April 1, 2019
Momentum Pathways Communications Plan
- Create collateral for students and parents at orientation
- Focus on 15 to Finish (or 30 credits per year) – This can be branded to students. See the 15 to Finish toolkit
- Focus advising on, and inform students to take math and English in the first year
- Promote career assessment tools (Purpose First)
- Market the Momentum Metrics to parents as a checklist (is your student’s first-year schedule meeting these benchmarks?) (see example)
- Encourage students to follow up with their advisors
- Inform students and parents about options to explore their career in their first year
- Ensure students select a meta-major or program of study.
- Encourage students to fill out the FAFSA – opens in October (great example: TN Achieves)
- For metro sites: create highly visible collateral about support services both on and off campus
- Highlight 15 to Finish, Corequisite Support and Math Pathways data from first semester in a press release
- Create a one-pager for board or other key stakeholders highlighting the ROI from the project
- Create student vignettes for recruitment (See an example from CUNY)
- Having student voices adds a lot of credibility to the effectiveness of the Game Changers, and it keeps the goal in mind – student success. If student voices can be captured through interviews, videos, etc., that would bolster efforts.
- For metro sites: can also highlight the wraparound social support services
Resources to Build the Case
New Rules: Policies to Meet Attainment Goals and Close Equity Gaps – provides an overview of each Game Changer, including data, stakeholder points of view, talking points, and more. This is a great place to start.
15 TO FINISH
- Significant percentages of college students do not graduate on time.
- The key reason: Students assume that if they attend full time they will graduate on time.
- This assumption is false. Full time is 12 credits; on time is 15.
- Every additional year of college costs a student roughly $150,000 in additional tuition and foregone income and retirement.
- Some students can’t take a full 15-credit course load, but there are a lot more who can. (see CCA blog for more details.)
- Students should accumulate 30 credits per year, even if that means using intersessions and summer sessions to do so.
- 15 to Finish toolkit – Designs – including posters, presentations and ads – that can be used for a 15 to Finish campaign.
- Five #15toFinish Websites to Inspire Your Campaign – see examples of 15 to Finish campaigns from other institutions and states
- CCA’s 15 to Finish strategy page – compiled list of resources for each step of implementation.
- The default math course for many students is College Algebra, a course designed to prepare students for Calculus.
- Sixty percent of students who take College Algebra do not go on to take Calculus, making the College Algebra course irrelevant to their college and career goals.
- At the same time, College Algebra has lower success rates than any other course, even more advanced courses like Calculus.
- College Algebra not only is a stumbling block for students en route to a degree, but it also does not serve them well long term even if they master the content.
- College graduates need to be mathematically literate in today’s increasingly data-driven world. This means colleges need to rethink their approach to math by providing pathways for statistics, quantitative reasoning, College Algebra/Calculus, and technical math.
- Mathematics courses should be relevant and aligned to a student’s major and career goals.
- Effective Strategies and Messaging for Communication and Engagement – Resource from the Charles A. Dana Center to guide communication planning for Math Pathways.
- CCA’s Math Pathways Strategy Page – compiled list of resources for each step of implementation.
- More than half of entering community college students are told by their college they are not ready for gateway math and English courses, and those numbers are significantly higher for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.
- Though created with good intentions, “remedial” or “developmental” courses cost money and time but do not count towards students’ degrees.
- As a result, many students drop out after taking these courses and before enrolling college-level courses.
- With Corequisite Support, students enroll in gateway courses with an aligned, just-in-time support in the same semester.
- This approach eliminates the attrition point between remediation and college-level gateway courses, reducing stop-out rates.
- The results are compelling: Nationally, only 22 percent of students who are deemed remedial ever complete the college-level gateway course, but students in Corequisite Support do so at a rate of 60 percent or more.
- Download West Virginia’s Corequisite Support Action Plan – Provides a comprehensive approach to implementing Corequisite Support, including communications elements.
- CCA’s Corequisite Support strategy page – compiled list of resources for each step of implementation.
ACADEMIC MAPS WITH PROACTIVE ADVISING
- Significant percentages of college students take longer than two years to earn an associate degree and four years to earn a baccalaureate degree.
- Every additional year of college costs students roughly $150,000 in additional tuition and foregone income and retirement savings.
- Students cannot graduate on time if they cannot get into the courses they need, take courses that do not count toward their degree, or change majors late in the game.
- Roughly half of excess credits taken result from poor student choices, unavailable courses, transfer issues, and degree requirements – problems that can be solved if the institutions provide better navigation for students.
- We should refuse to let our students incur these life-altering costs because we fail to get them and keep them on the path to on-time completion and a good-fit career.
- CCA’s Academic Maps with Proactive Advising strategy page – compiled list of resources for each step of implementation.
- Meta-major resource from The Florida College System – example of a meta-major outline for students
- Students’ approach to their first year in college can dramatically affect their likelihood of graduating.
- Students gain momentum by completing math and English early and immediately starting in classes aligned to their academic interests.
- Taking and completing more credits also creates momentum because students progress more quickly to graduation day.
- Evidence proves that nine credits in an academic interest area and 30 credits overall is the tipping point that dramatically improves students’ likelihood of graduating.
- Unfortunately, traditional higher education has very little structure that ensures that students meet these key benchmarks.
- Institutions should systematically guide students through first-year curriculum that includes these Momentum Year components.
- The state has an obligation to ensure return on investment for the taxpayer dollars that fund financial aid and Promise programs and should use this leverage to ensure that institutions put the Momentum Year in place.