Improving Community College Student Success

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Last week, a new study involving 13 participating institutions, Jobs for the Future, and the Delta Cost Project released a report on cost return for student success initiatives; with the report, the researchers made available a cost-return calculator that ties program-level cost data to student outcomes in success programs. With increasing federal and public pressure to increase graduation rates, it is important to adopt a strategic and measured approach to improving student success.

Given the limited resources (yet often greater flexibility) of the community college, Joyce Romano, vice president for student affairs at Valencia Community College, and Maureen Pettitt, director of institutional research at Skagit Valley College, suggest these keys for improving student success at two-year institutions:

  • Stay focused on 2-3 "big ideas" (and prioritize specific strategies to meet them)
  • Benchmark your progress (and plan for how you will do that before you even begin collecting the data)

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