Our Alliance — now 46 members strong — is leading a nationwide movement.

A college degree is critical to increasing opportunity in this country. Our Alliance of states, systems, institutional consortia, and partners are working hand-in-hand to make that a reality for more students. They are collaborators, data miners and experimenters united by their commitment to taking bold steps with the goal of transforming the narrative of college completion.

Our Alliance

Nearly ten years ago, the CCA Alliance was made up of 19 states across the country. Now at 46 Members, including states, regions and institutional consortia, the Alliance is growing rapidly and helping many more students graduate college.

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Barbara Damron: Working Together in New Mexico


Critical Need for Collaboration

We started addressing the issue of remediation in New Mexico three years ago. We have pushed all of our higher education institutions who provide remediation to move away from traditional to alternative remediation models, specifically Corequisite Support. We’ve done a number of webinars on Corequisite Support, and some of our institutions have begun implementing it. In every single presentation I give to the legislature or on a statewide platform, I talk about what the success we can provide our students with the Corequisite approach to remediation. Complete College America has the data and the evidence to show that Coreq works, and we are setting the groundwork to adopt it statewide. Because we are such a decentralized higher education system in New Mexico (we have 21 governing boards and 10 advisory boards for our public higher education institutions!), getting anything done at the statewide level takes major collaboration.

Development Education Day

The annual development education day on the Alamogordo campus in February 2018 provided us with the perfect opportunity to offer a full day of education around this strategy. The real beauty of the event was that it was actually requested by the developmental education faculty themselves. Often, we have to create grassroots buy-in amongst the faculty, but that was not the case this time. They wanted to learn more about Coreq and how they could implement it. We sent out letters to all 31 of our public institutions about the event. We tried very hard to inform our institutions about the event – to garner excitement – and it worked. We had over 100 people in attendance from all over the state. We’re the fifth largest land mass in the United States, so many of them traveled quite a distance to participate. The discussion day was extremely successful. Many connections and plans were made and faculty were excited about implementing Corequisite Support at their institutions.

The Governance Summit

The Governance Summit on April 19 was focused on our governance structure and its impact on student success. As I mentioned, New Mexico has a very decentralized higher education system. To generate buy-in for an initiative, I have to visit 31 campuses and engage 31 different presidents and boards. It dilutes our efforts and makes it far more difficult to launch an initiative than it would be in a state with a more centralized governance system like Indiana.

The focus of the Governance Summit was “Learning from the Best.” Higher education leaders from Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Montana, Colorado and Oregon led presentations on the governance models in their states and their college completion efforts. CCA Senior Vice President Sarah Ancel also talked about best practices around governance. On the second day of the summit, there were several simultaneous forums where groups could ask questions and share feedback.

Looking Forward

Over the summer, I made a formal recommendation on New Mexico’s higher education governance structure. The goal of the Governance Summit was to help pave the way for a more streamlined system that will allow us to peel back the layers and move forward with student success efforts, like statewide implementation of 15 to Finish.

I’m proud to be a member of the Complete College America Board of Directors. CCA has been a game changer on the national landscape of higher education. The organization has identified best practices, proven that they work, and is helping states to implement them. With CCA’s partnership, there is much more we want to do for the 134,000 students in our public higher education system. The Governance Summit was an important step in that process.

New CCA Alliance Member: Inland Empire

The Inland Empire in California became the 45th member of the CCA Alliance in 2018. Comprising San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, the Inland Empire is plagued with poor student outcomes. By joining CCA, higher education and economic development leaders in the region are committing to improving degree attainment for the more than 200,000 students represented by IE institutions.

The Georgia Story


The Beginning

Complete College Georgia (CCG) was started in 2011 by Governor Nathan Deal as a statewide effort to increase the proportion of people earning a high-quality degree or credential in Georgia. The University System of Georgia (USG), the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), and the Georgia Department of Education have jointly led the initiative, working towards CCG’s overall goal to improve college access and graduation.

To reach this goal, CCG first sought to understand the barriers that often hinder college completion. Many of these were outlined in Georgia’s Higher Education Completion Plan in 2012, and include college readiness and access, affordability and cost, shortening time to degree, restructuring instruction and learning, and transforming remediation.

In addition, CCG asked institutions to prioritize identifying workforce and skill demands across the state that they could address. Recently, USG introduced its nexus degree, a new credential that focuses on “the connections between industry, skilled knowledge and hands-on experience in high-demand career fields.”


Campuses across Georgia created individualized plans aligned to CCG’s overall state goal, and have been implementing best practices shown to increase student success. These include 15 to Finish, Guided Pathways, and Corequisite Support, and more.

Throughout implementations, the CCG team has assisted each institution with its Completion Plan and Completion Update. This includes monitoring progress and helping each institution submit an Action Plan to the Governor’s office annually.

In addition, CCG has encouraged campus innovation in increasing student success through its innovation grants. These grants have allowed campuses to experiment with new ideas or further advance strategies, and the findings have informed statewide work.

USG and TCSG, as leaders in the CCG work, have also implemented several strategies across their campuses. They have implemented the elements of Guided Pathways, including academic maps, metamajors, and proactive advising. These large implementations contribute to best practices and the scale of work across the state.

Current Opportunities

USG is also ensuring that system-level policies align with and support completion efforts. It has created a transparent process to review policies that could hinder progress, and proposed solutions that still retain academic rigor. As a result, the system has implemented policy changes around learning support, academic renewal and required high school curriculum.

Currently, USG institutions are in the process to implement Momentum Year, a CCA Game Changer strategy that helps students reach certain milestones in their first year that have been proven to increase their overall success. These milestones include every student beginning in a metamajor or specific program, taking core math and English classes, nine credits in the area of study and 30 credits total within the first year. USG started this process in spring 2018 at a Momentum Summit, a system-wide event that convened cabinet-level teams from all 26 USG institutions to craft an 18-month Momentum Year implementation plan specific to that campus. Now eight months in, the USG system has entirely replaced traditional remediation with Corequisite Support and institutions are well on their way to ensuring that all students make a purposeful choice of a program or area of study by fall 2019.

In addition, USG was one of four systems in the country to receive a $2.1 million Strong Start to Finish grant in early 2018, which will support the expansion of Momentum Year for all 26 institutions within the system.