Open Menu Close Menu

Student Success

New Policy, Equity and Practice Network Aims to Boost Student Success at the State Level

National nonprofit Complete College America has partnered with three states — Arkansas, Montana and Oklahoma — to form a network of institutions focused on equity and student success. Through August 2024, he Policy, Equity & Practice (PEP) initiative will work with state higher education agencies from each state to advance policy reforms as well as convene a cohort of 34 participating colleges and universities that will work to improve college completion rates for students from historically underserved backgrounds. The program is supported by $1.75 million in funding from Ascendium Education Group.

On the policy side, the state higher education agencies have put forth the following strategic plans:

  • The Arkansas Division of Higher Education aims to increase the percentage of adult Arkansans with college credentials to 55% by the year 2030. Its Master Plan comprises four strategic goals: Increase the total number of individuals with targeted credentials by 81,360 by 2026; Improve the affordability of higher education for Arkansans; Increase participation and attainment by underserved student groups by 5% annually; and Increase regional credentials to match targeted workforce demand.
  • The Montana University System will expand on its Montana 10 program, which offers academic, social and financial supports for Pell-eligible students, and scale up the statewide adoption of corequisite support.
  • The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education will focus on education-to-workforce pathways for adult learners and high school students participating in dual enrollment courses.

At the same time, each state's cohort of institutions will work to implement Purpose First, a model of advising and student intake created in 2016 by Complete College America and Strada Education Network that's designed to help colleges and universities connect students' interests with their academic and professional goals.

"More than a decade after states moved to set audacious goals to increase postsecondary attainment, we are seeing that progress is possible. However, the pandemic has introduced a new set of barriers that could undermine that progress and reverse some of the same hard-fought gains," commented Dr. Yolanda Watson Spiva, president of Complete College America. "To sustain inclusive and competitive economies at the state level, we must ensure that every citizen has the opportunity to achieve their full educational potential — and develop the knowledge and skills to succeed in today's workforce."

"Education and training beyond high school is essential to compete in today's economy. To meet Arkansas' workforce and economic development goals, it's critical that we increase the number and proportion of working-age adults with a postsecondary credential by 2025," said Maria Markham, director of the Arkansas Division of Higher Education. "We are excited to join with other state leaders and institutions focused on ensuring that more students in our state graduate on time — and that students from every background can access the education and training they need to achieve their personal and professional goals."

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

comments powered by Disqus