Centering Equity in the Scaled Change of College Completion Policy and Practice

Education transforms lives, but too many students face barriers that prevent them from crossing the finish line and reaping the rewards of their efforts. And, too often, those facing the most challenges are students of color, those coming from low-income households, and students who are the first in their families to go to college. Through this initiative, CCA will work with institutions and states/regions committed to changing this historic pattern to dramatically improve student success. Intentionality drives student persistence and graduation. This project will make a difference in students’ lives through the implementation of equity-focused, evidence-based strategies that are supported by targeted policies based on the CCA pillars of student success.

Informational Webinar

About the Initiative

In Brief

  • Cohort of three Alliance states/regions
  • Build capacity around and implement equity-centered completion strategies chosen from the CCA pillars of student success
  • Develop policies that enable long-term sustainability
  • Teams comprised of SHEEOs or CCA Alliance Leads plus colleges & universities to participate in the CCA Foundations for Institutional Transformation (FIT) process
  • Priority consideration given to CCA Alliance states/regions who are participating in the Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP) and who have completed the CCA Strengths Assessments


  • Build and elevate cohorts within and across states/regions and institutions to focus on scaling change around equity-focused college completion.
  • Develop project and action plans at sites to advance key policies and practices.
  • Implement evidence-based strategies connected to CCA pillars of purpose, momentum, structure, and support.
  • Identify and prioritize equity performance indicators for student completion goals.
  • Track key metrics for success through participation in the postsecondary data partnership (PDP) to monitor progress to inform continuous improvement.
  • Develop state/regional and institutional capacity building focused on training on policy review, assessment, and design.


College completion rates – and ultimately social mobility – for students of color and from low-income households are much less relative to white and high-income counterparts. For the minoritized students who do graduate, increased time to degree represent higher opportunity costs in lost wages for every semester they need to complete their degree. COVID-19 exacerbated disparities experienced by these communities and increased the need to provide strategic interventions to improve college completion, economic mobility, and racial justice. The causes of these disparities are many; however, CCA proposes a path forward with an intentional focus on evidence-based strategies that can be strengthened with a focus on equity.

Through support from Ascendium Education Group, CCA will address the shortcomings that have historically affected people of color in higher education through our unique approach combining policy, perspective, and practice. By approaching change at scale, this project will have the maximum impact on the greatest number of people, thus transforming lives and communities. CCA will lead cohorts of colleges and universities across multiple regions to develop a toolkit of implementation strategies for equity-centered student success practices and policies, conscious of demographic disparities by income background and race in college completion, and post-completion, metrics. CCA will implement a three-phase design over three years with in-depth support from partner organizations to develop aligned, strategies and policies for selected sites committed to transforming the experience and outcomes of higher education for people of color.

CCA is looking to partner with Alliance states/regions that have high enrollment percentages of minoritized student populations and those from low-income family backgrounds, a sizable public higher education sector, and a governance model that lends itself to state- or region-centric policy that makes scalable, legislatively driven change to support completion and post-completion outcomes feasible. CCA is particularly interested in leadership that is committed to the college completion movement with an equity focus but has not, to date, been engaged in the work. CCA seeks states/regions interested in building a coalition to support and share best practices. Priority consideration will be given to Alliance Teams who are participating in the Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP) and who have completed the CCA Strengths Assessments.

Application Timeline

Project Announcement & Applications Open
November 1, 2021
Informational Webinar
November 15, 2021
Applications Close
December 1, 2021
Decision Email Sent
January, 2022

How to Get Involved

Watch Informational Webinar

We hosted a virtual meeting to share more information about this exciting work. Please click on the link below to learn more about how you can get involved.



Apply for the Project

Applications to become a partner in this initiative closed on December 1st.

Support the Initiative

For colleges, universities, systems, and states interested in learning more about supporting this work, we’d love to talk.

Get in Touch