States network to improve community college success

“We found, in being able to connect with other state policy teams’ similar and different challenges, [that] being able to discuss those together helps us see how other states have tackled problems that we may have to confront in the future,” said Susan Wood, vice chancellor of Academic Services and Research at the Virginia Community College System.

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Looking ahead, the Virginia Community College System has established “Achieve 2015,” a strategic plan that outlines its goal to achieve a 50-percent increase in the number of community college students who earn degrees, transfer to four-year institutions, or earn a workforce credential. Virginia aspires to increase the number of low-income students achieving these same standards by 75 percent.

Meredith Archer Hatch, associate director of programs for Achieving the Dream, said she believes that the collaborative reform and equity efforts that occur within the Postsecondary State Policy Network allow states to produce significant, substantial results.

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“I think [the Postsecondary State Policy Network] is an important continuation of exceptional state policy,” said Hatch. “As the network grows and gains more experience in creating supportive policies, we’re seeing success and evidence-based growth. I think at this point, the states in the network have participated for a number of years, and I think that that really allows for a pretty robust collaboration.”

The Postsecondary State Policy Network meets four times a year. Twice a year, states construct a state policy team comprised of education stakeholders like administrators and college presidents. These policy teams join forces to update one another on their state’s individual goals and processes.

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