5 ways to improve community college completion rates

A new report suggests five structured group practices for community colleges to improve student completion rates

community-college-completionAccording to the Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 31 percent of 18 to 24 year-old college students and more than half of all online students in the U.S. attend two-year institutions.

Yet, ensuring that students complete an associate’s degree on time is one of the biggest challenges facing educators, students, and administrators, based on findings in a new report issued by the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) at the University of Texas.

“A Matter of Degrees: Practices to Pathways,” the third and final series of annual reports published by the CCCSE, reveals a disturbing trend among two-year community colleges: Only half of students who enter a community college receive a degree or are still enrolled in school six years later.

While these statistics should cause concern, the CCCSE report found several optimistic results: Students who signed up for all of their courses early were four times more likely to continue during fall to spring and 11 times more likely to continue during fall to fall. Developmental students were four times more likely to pass an introductory college credit class (gatekeeper) English class if they had signed up for a student success class that taught time management and studying skills. And developmental math students were three times more likely not to drop a course if the teacher had an attendance policy.

John Ebersole, president of Excelsior College and a 24-year veteran in higher education, praised the findings in the CCCSE report while also sharing some of Excelsior’s best practices.

(Next page: 5 structured group practices for schools to improve student completion rates)

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