White House College Opportunity Day of Action

On Thursday, December 4, 2014, the President and First Lady hosted College Opportunity Day of Action.  This event announced efforts to help more students prepare for and graduate from college as a college degree remains one of the surest pathways into the middle class in America and is an especially powerful engine of social and economic mobility. 

Over this decade, nearly 8 in 10 new jobs will require some postsecondary education or training beyond high school. And of the 30 fastest growing occupations, half require a college degree. At the same time, college graduates earn an average of 77 percent more per hour than a high school graduate. President Obama set forth a goal early in his first term to guide our work in education – to lead the world with the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.

Since the first White House College Opportunity Summit, over 30 Achieving the Dream colleges have made commitments to expand college opportunity by strengthening college readiness for academically underprepared students, a sizeable representation of the more than 600 institutions including colleges, universities and nonprofit organizations who have made the commitments.  Our colleges will be building sustainable collaborations in communities with strong K-12 and higher-education partnerships to encourage college going, and working with other colleges to dramatically improve persistence and increase college completion, especially for first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students.

Achieving the Dream National Reform Network –  college commitment highlights include:

Broward College:  commits to increasing Information Technology program completion, increasing Engineering Technology programs, increasing STEM-focused Associates degree track enrollment, and increasing the number of STEM programs offered.

Bunker Hill Community College (Boston, MA):  commits to double the scope of its successful Summer Bridge program, to adding a peer mentoring component to the dual enrollment program and to supporting students with College registration and financial aid procedures, and to continuing a strong institutional focus on the critical first year.

Bunker Hill Community College (Charlestown, MA):  commits to successful completion of developmental coursework prior to college entry for at least 500 entering students per year, to increasing the percentage of entering students completing at least fifteen credits in their first year, and to increasing the six-year “Achieving the Dream” success rate (graduation, transfer and persistence).

Community College of Allegheny County: commits to launching a new initiative that is designed to enable economically disadvantaged, under-represented, and first-generation students to train for high-demand jobs while providing transportation, support services and coaching in a team environment.

College of the Ouachitas: has developed and implemented educational and financial coaching services and is committed to scaling up integrated student services for all students at the College.

Community College of Philadelphia: commits to increasing the number of STEM graduates with multiple strategies such as student support, retention initiatives, STEM career exploration and experiential lab work and research experience with industry partnerships.

Cuyahoga Community College:  commits to implementing a required First-Year Experience for all new degree seeking students and to adapting to a new model for allocating State subsidy dollars to Ohio’s community colleges.

Davidson County Community College:  commits to implementing a summer bridge program, to scaling its student success course to all first-time college students, to design and implement evidenced-based practices that show promise in advancing college persistence and completion, to share promising practices and strategies, and to developing or expanding a number of strategies to support completion.

Eastern Gateway Community College:  commits to continue to assist first-generation and low-income students in preparing for college-level courses, to further enhance the academic advising experience for the target at-risk population, to provide more interventions and academic planning through intrusive academic advising for all students,  to expand and refine the use of the emporium-style course work for its developmental math curriculum, and to expand students’ technical knowledge prior to entering the workforce.

Edmonds Community College:  commits to expand its training for faculty so that they have additional tools for engaging students, increasing resilience, and providing them with needed resources to strengthen college readiness efforts for students and to expand its offering of competency-based education certificates in other disciplines beyond Information Technology.

El Paso Community College:  commits to becoming a co-development partner to accelerate students through their developmental math sequence by pairing a developmental course with a transfer level math course and will serve as a mentor institution to other Texas community colleges.

Gaston College:  commits to redesigning its developmental education curriculum and delivery, to meet non-academic needs of students, and to being intentional in engaging students early in their academic careers to transform and empower them.

Harper College:  commits to working with area high schools to provide enhanced access to early college credit for every high school student to ensure college readiness and increase timely progression towards a degree, to develop a national toolkit for community colleges and school districts to utilize to create similar regional partnerships, and to hosting a national symposium for Community College Presidents and High School Superintendents to launch regional partnerships building.

Houston Community College:  commits to increase the number of engineering college graduates, particularly those from underrepresented groups, through its collaborative engineering program initiative.

Kingsborough Community College: commits to increasing the number of students who complete a college-level math course by the time they achieve 30 credits, to building the Learning Community Program, and to raising the pass rates of students who repeat a developmental math course two or more times.

LaGuardia Community College (CUNY), Maricopa Community College and Valencia College:  this collaboration commits to increase college completion by helping faculty expand their teaching repertoire and effectiveness to successfully help college students learn through a Professional Practice Improvement process. The faculties in the collaborative use a set of digital tools and routines that creates intensive reflection, ongoing dialogue, and data analytics.

Lee College:  commits to increasing student success for low income students and students of color through collaborative community partnerships and to coordinate a systems approach to develop clear pathways to college and career achievement.

Lower Columbia College:  commits to creating an endowment that will help students cover the cost of tuition expenses not covered by scholarships, financial aid or grants; textbook expenses; GED testing fees; emergency childcare expenses; and/or emergency transportation.

North Central State College:  commits to pursue a set of data-driven strategies to increase STEM retention and completion and to expand dual-enrollment for local high school students allowing them to build college credit tuition-free.

Macomb Community College:  commits to continue assessing the relationship between college-skills course taking and student success-related outcomes and to potentially extend the mandate to other incoming student groups.

Miami Dade College:  commits to reduce the number of students enrolling in developmental education coursework, to provide mandatory advising for all first-time-in-college (FTIC) students with demonstrated basic skills gap and  to offer all developmental education courses in redesigned modalities.

Montgomery County Community College:   commits to redesigning student entry and advising processes to allow for intrusive academic planning, to creating a new model for student engagement to build continuous, and to expand the Minority Student Mentoring.

Northern Virginia Community College:  commits to enhance college readiness and student success among first generation and low-income college students, to increase and assist low-income high school students annually to prepare for college attendance, to increase the number of low-income students who are in a STEM studies pipeline and will increase the number of low-income students annually who will earn postsecondary credentials and who will be placed in jobs with average wages of $14 per hour within one year of completion.

Passaic County Community College:  commits to undertaking a comprehensive curricular reform effort to improve student-success rates in 10 highly-enrolled general education courses and to create new pathways for dislocated workers, veterans, and other low-skill individuals to earn credentials that have value in the workplace and to move expeditiously into high-skill, high-wage employment.

Patrick Henry Community College: commits to modularize math from a maximum of 16 credits down to a maximum of 9 credits, to the alignment of developmental math pre-requisites with on-level requirements, to laser-like remediation for modular math, to applied degree requiring only three modules which can be completed in 8 weeks, to non-STEM transfer degree requiring 5 modules which can be completed in 1 semester, to STEM-degrees requiring 9 modules which can be completed in 2 semesters,  and to co-enrolled courses (ALP) where students are enrolled in both the developmental course and on-level credit-bearing course simultaneously for both Math and English.

Richland College: commits to expanding its multi-level collaboration STEM Center to support and guide students pursuing STEM careers with a special emphasis on women and historically under-served, under-resourced populations and prepare them to work in a competitive science and technology-based economy and establishes well-defined student career pathways.

Tacoma Community College:  commits to further alignment of precollege pathways in composition and mathematics, to teaming up on a project to end homelessness by supporting housing vouchers for qualified low-income college students, and to work through its Core to College Initiative.

The Community College of Baltimore County:  commits to improving student success by building on a solid foundation of innovative efforts while initiating new strategies at scale in an integrated and systemic manner, to continuing to scale developmental course redesign and completion work, to providing professional development and training to faculty in the innovative and academically challenging pedagogy that characterizes the acceleration model, to providing support for participating colleges across the country that choose to adopt some version of CCBC’s special programs, and to expand CCBC’s Culturally Responsive Teaching training program.

Umpqua Community College:  commits to launching a new tuition-waivers program for students meeting acceptance criteria

University of Hawai‘i System:  commits to analyze data, pilot and evaluate improved practices, and bring successful practices to scale, including its strategy encouraging students to take 15 credits a semester to graduate on time by implementing a new best-of-breed customized system-wide academic planning tool that tracks and guides each student’s course-taking path to graduation.

Wallace State Community College: commits to redesign developmental studies to promote acceleration, the implementation of a Success Course for all incoming freshmen with embedded intrusive advising in a case management approach, and to strengthening the College’s points and portals of entry.

West Hills College Lemoore:   commits to the implementation of Student Success Teams to ensure that first-time college bound students (with an emphasis on students from low-income, first generation, and underrepresented populations) receive career counseling and academic advising, to promoting collaboration to more closely align curriculum and expectations, and to the implementation of Priority Registration to incentivize all incoming students to complete their application, placement test, FAFSA, orientation, and preparation of a student education plan with priority registration to ensure they get the courses they need.

Zane State College:  commits to implementing a placement program in an effort to place students where they have the best effort for success, to reorganizing its Student Services with a focus on cross training, to integrating developmental and college level coursework throughout the first year, and to addressing technological limitations that allow students to circumvent interventions designed to insure they are adequately progressing.



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