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Getting kids to college is only a part of the equation when it comes to higher education. Whether a student enrolls in community college or a four-year school, the goal is to get that student to leave the institution with a degree firmly in hand. Unfortunately, that event does not occur nearly as often as educators would like. As the quest to improve college completion rates kicks into high gear, a task force in Ohio has some recommendations for schools looking to get more of their students on the path to graduation.

About the Complete College Ohio Task Force
 
College completion rates in the state of Ohio are some of the lowest in the country, with Ohio ranking 38th on the spectrum of graduating college students, according to the Ohio Higher Ed website. To determine why completion rates are so low – and what can be done to improve them – the Ohio Board of Regents partnered with the university system in the state, which includes community colleges and adult education centers as well as four-year institutions.
 
The newly formed Complete College Ohio Task Force was given the responsibility of studying the reasons behind the dismal graduation rates. The committee then put forth a list of recommendations to improve those rates. While the recommendations were specifically for Ohio colleges, the recommendations are equally relevant for other colleges across the country.
 
When the task force began their work, the Ohio Higher Ed website reports that the group was divided into three subsets: . . . read more

Institutions of higher education are just that – places where students can continue to learn, grow and develop professionally and personally. Community colleges are particularly adept at this task, offering a wide range of learning opportunities for students of all ages and walks of life. From young students still years from their college years to senior citizens who never want to stop discovering new things, these campuses offer a wealth of learning opportunities. Check out these 10 ways you can make the most of the programs found at your local community college.

Get Ahead in High School
 
Running Start is a program available through many of the community colleges in the state of Washington. According to the Tacoma Community College website, this program allows high school juniors and seniors to get a head start on college credits by taking college-level courses while they are still in high school. The program offers a wide range of benefits, including the ability to save on college tuition and choose from a broader course selection. Other states offer similar programs to aspiring college students.
 
It is important to note that these dual-credit programs are not without their share of requirements as well. Students are typically expected to maintain a high GPA in their high school courses to even qualify for the program. In addition, they will be required to achieve a prescribed GPA in their college coursework as well. College classes may also be offered on weekends and during school holidays, . . . read more

President Obama highlighted the important role community colleges play in today’s workforce in his recent State of the Union address, but to achieve the lofty goals set by the President, colleges need tools in place to ensure students entering their doors can succeed. A recent report from the Center for Community College Student Engagement discovered that most schools know what is needed, but not all have successfully implemented those tools on a broad enough scale to help the majority of their students. Check out what community colleges nationwide are striving to offer their students now, and what they can add to give their students even better odds of success.

A Matter of Degrees: Promising Practices for Community College Student Success
 
The CCCSE report, titled, “A Matter of Degrees: Promising Practices for Community College Student Success,” consolidates four different surveys into a single, comprehensive report. According to a report at the University of Texas website, the report includes data from the Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE), the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE), and the Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (CCFSSE). The report also included preliminary findings from the Community College Institutional Survey (CCIS).
 
The report compiled information from 75,000 entering students and 440,000 experienced students throughout 2011. Approximately 35,000 faculty members also provided data for the report, and information was collected from a total of 228 community colleges. The data was compiled and analyzed by CCCSE, where it was consolidated into the single “Matter of Degrees” . . . read more

Community college has come a long way in recent years, especially with the focus these schools are getting from the current administration. President Obama has labeled these institutions as the hope for American’s economic future and the way this country will remain competitive in a global marketplace. To that end, President Obama has announced a lofty goal of adding 5 million more community college graduates by 2020. He also hosted the first community college summit at the White House last year, which served as the starting point for finding new ways to support these institutions so they are able to meet this ambitious goal.

In this struggling economy, community college has become the go-to place for displaced workers looking for training in a new field and high school graduates who are unable to afford the skyrocketing tuition rates at four-year institutions. However, the path from enrollment to graduation is not always an easy one. We have tips to help incoming students get the most from their community college experience, so they can use it as an effective starting point for a successful and lucrative career.

Are You Ready?
 
The first step toward community college success is proper preparation before the enrollment process even takes place. Whether you are coming to college right out of high school, or have been out of the world of academia for some time, you can determine your college readiness with a relatively simple process.

First, find a readiness assessment online or through . . . read more

The significant role community colleges will play in the country's economy has been underscored by the White House over the past few months with the first annual community college summit taking place in Washington this fall. However, in order for community colleges to become the relevant player that President Obama wants them to be, the current dismal graduation rates at community colleges across the country will need to increase. To that end, the initiative known as "Achieving the Dream" has been implemented to recognize community colleges performing above national standards and use those tools to elevate other colleges to a higher level as well.
 
Achieving the Dream is committed to assisting community colleges better serve their students so more students can realize academic and professional success. Colleges participating in the movement agree to carefully analyze their current procedures and student outcomes and develop and implement new strategies to improve student outcome overall.

In addition, participating colleges agree to monitor their progress and report their findings to Achieving the Dream so that other colleges can benefit from their knowledge and experience. This year, the organization learned three important lessons on improving learning from two of the participating community colleges in their pool.
 
Reducing Achievement Gaps = Increased Student Retention

Valencia Community College in Florida offered a number of programs for under-prepared students coming to the campus for the first time – more than 100 programs, in fact. However, the piecemeal approach to improving student performance was still resulting . . . read more
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