Melanie Gottlieb

Deputy Director


Melanie Gottlieb

Deputy Director


I was a first-generation college student who believes in the power of education to transform lives. I have seen evidence of that in my own life and in the lives of countless students with whom I have interacted over the course of my career.

My educational path was neither straight nor traditional. I worked through high school and navigated and paid for college with my own earnings and loans. I made an initial uninformed poor choice of college and major, which led me to transfer my sophomore year. My next college, while suited to my personality and passions, was actually financially out of my reach. After a year of living on campus and fully engaging in my studies, I moved off campus and took on a full-time job, which was not sustainable. It took me 12 years to complete my undergraduate degree-- but I did finally finish and go on to further my education and have been working in higher education ever since.

While I have been a member of many professional organizations, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (AACRAO) was my professional home for all of my career. I joined the staff in 2015 as Deputy Director. In my 18 years as an AACRAO member, I had broad institutional experience in Records and Registration, Enrollment Management and International Recruitment and Credential Evaluation at four private higher education institutions.

My focus at AACRAO is on projects pertaining to increasing college access, student success and completion through the lens of Strategic Enrollment Management and in international education policy development, specifically pertaining to comparative international education. The Purpose First initiative is my first project with Complete College America.

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15 to Finish

Boost the number of students who are on track for on-time graduation by encouraging enrollment in 15 credits each semester (30 credits per year, including summers). Financial aid dollars, as well as institutional process and practice, should support that standard.

Math Pathways

Ensure all students enroll in and complete gateway math in their first year by designing math courses that are aligned with the skills students need for their chosen program of study.

Corequisite Support

Increase gateway course completion within the first year by enrolling entering students into the college-level math and English courses, providing those who need additional help a concurrent course or lab that offers just-in-time academic support.

Momentum Year

Build momentum so students meet first-year benchmarks: informed choice of meta major or major, enrollment in 30 credits with nine in the program of study and completion of gateway courses. Provide early support and guidance for decision making, using interest assessments and labor-market data.

Academic Maps with Proactive Advising

Default students onto highly-structured academic maps that include 15 credits per semester (or 30 per year), indicate milestone and pre-requisite courses, and empower advisors to effectively monitor progress and provide intervention as needed.

A Better Deal for Returning Adults

Increase degree attainment by inviting adult learners back to complete their education, providing a redesigned system that offers accelerated courses, year-round enrollment and predictable schedules. Give credit for prior learning and experience and additional support to help students navigate the system.

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