Momentum is about helping students gain and sustain critical progress at the beginning of their college journey. When students are successful early on, they’re more likely to reach the finish line. Data tells us the best way to create that momentum is to remove unnecessary barriers and ensure students hit essential milestones like completing gateway courses and accumulating credits as soon as possible.
Students often face structural challenges that impede their progress at the start: Many colleges refuse to give students credit for prior learning, others offer developmental-education sequences that are poorly designed, and some colleges simply fail to tell students how many credit hours they need each term to graduate on time. In every case, student-centered institutions should do all they can to give students a solid start that dramatically increases their odds of success.
cost for each additional year spent in college beyond on-time graduation
of high school students without dual enrollment credits earn a bachelor's degree compared to 21% of those with credits
of first time Black students are enrolled in remediation compared to 54% of their White peers
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.
Despite the benefits of taking summer courses, most community college students do not do so. MDRC’s Encouraging Additional Summer Enrollment (EASE) study used behavioral insights and a financial incentive with the goal of boosting enrollment rates.
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