Boosting Community College Success
by Francie Grace
Even before the economy hit the wall, community colleges were already a vital part of the American dream, enrolling about half of all college students in this country. High college costs - complicated by declining housing prices and mortgage problems – have put community colleges on the radar for an increasing number of families as policymakers wrestle with issues ranging from scarce resources to green jobs and, in one case, the issue of whether funding should be performance-based.
Here at Public Agenda, access to and success in higher education are a major focus of both our public engagement work and our research. Aiming to improve the current situation, in which fewer than half of all community college students earn degrees, we now have a Boosting Community College Success section on our Web site with resources for educators, students, community leaders and parents.
The resources we offer to boost graduation rates include:
- Choicework Discussion guides and videos to help students, parents, educators and communities sort through the options on College Readiness, 21st Century Careers, and Success in Community College
- Profiles of fieldwork our public engagement team has done on this issue in various communities
- Customized technical assistance and training for holding Community Conversations to tackle problems in a community or school
- Planning guides, workbooks and other tools designed as part of the national Achieving The Dream initiative for community college success, which includes a focus on low-income and minority students
- Public opinion research on access to higher education and education reform, including our series of reports for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on obstacles to college completion: Can I Get A Little Advice Here? and With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them.
Our social networks are also a great resource for talking over the issues, swapping reports, and getting to know the others in the trenches for higher ed. We'll look forward to seeing you there: on Twitter and Facebook.