Building a ‘completion culture’

A community college honor society is trying to build a “culture of completion” on campuses where graduation rates are low.

An online tool helps students track their progress toward their goals at a California college with limited counseling staff.

Obama plan won’t control college costs

President Obama’s college rating plan won’t control college costs, an analyst argues.

Proposed changes in financial aid designed to improve completion rates could limit low-income students’ access to college, a new report warns.

Gates put $472 million into college completion

The Gates Foundation has spent $472 million on higher education reforms since 2006 with most of it going to help low-income people complete college credentials. Gates-funded research has spurred state lawmakers to limit remedial coursework and link higher ed funding to graduation rates and other success measures. Is there pushback? Yes indeed.

Wealthy philanthropists are transforming public — but not private — higher education, warns a professor who thinks the economic elite are too powerful.

Testing college motivation

Colleges are trying out an online college readiness exam called SuccessNavigator that claims to measure motivation, self-management and “grit.”

Open-access colleges are under pressure to graduate more students while spending less. But completion-boosting strategies may not be cost effective and cost-cutting strategies may raise the cost per degree.

Also: It’s the learning, stupid.

 

Online completion gap is narrowing

Community college students are learning how to learn online — or perhaps the courses are improving. The completion gap is narrowing between online and traditional courses, according to a survey of community colleges. Nearly half of colleges said online students do just as well as students in face-to-face courses.

Colleges take transfers, deny credits

Some colleges demand transfers pay a non-refundable deposit before learning how many of their credits will be counted. It’s common for transfers to learn half their credits are useless.

Project Win-Win helped colleges boost their graduation rates by analyzing data bases to find students who’d completed degree requirements — or come close — but hadn’t received the degree.

Completion is an ‘ecosystem’ issue

Improving college graduation rates requires understanding the higher education “ecoosystem,” says the president of an award-winning community college. Students “swirl” between colleges and majors, dropping in and out and back in again.

Research “student pathways,” recommends a policy brief in The Changing Ecology of Higher Education series. The metaphor is gaining popularity.

Redesigning college aid — without spending more

A “more understandable effective and fair” student aid system doesn’t need to cost taxpayers more money, concludes a new report that calls for shifting funding and incentives to help needy students and encourage speedy completion of degrees.

Federal grants to college students should be replaced with grants to states, which would have to match the money, recommends another report.

‘BA blinders’ create barriers to success

When college for all means a bachelor’s degree or nothing, most “nontraditional” students will end up with nothing, concludes a policy brief, which calls for “removing BA blinders.”  Instead, community colleges should learn from for-profit career colleges, which offer structured job training, avoid unneeded remediation, develop career ladders, monitor students’ progress and place graduates in jobs — and have much higher completion rates.

Colleges and universities must adapt to the needs of nontraditional students to improve graduation rates, advises a national commission. The nontraditionals — working adults, part-timers, veterans — are the majority.

Gates: It’s completion, not costs

Completion is a bigger problem than rising college costs, argues Bill Gates.

Completion numbers are better than previously reported, according to a new analysis which tracks more students, including transfers,