National Organizations and States Endorse Design Principles to Support Student Success & Scale Effective Higher Education Practices

A group of national organizations representing thousands of higher education institutions and millions  of students today released design principles to significantly increase the number of students completing college and close attainment gaps for historically underserved populations.

Core Principles for Transforming Remediation within a Comprehensive Student Success Strategy highlights practices such as placing the vast majority of students directly into credit-­‐bearing work with effective support; refining mathematical and other academic content to align with each student’s choice of academic direction; and helping students stay on track to a college credential.

The principles expand upon a document released three years ago in response to outdated practices for helping students master remedial (pre-­‐college level) content. Roughly half of all undergraduates and 70 percent of community college students take at least one remedial course and only a quarter of those students graduate within eight years.

“This represents a transition from a system that served some students well to a system that serves all students well,” said Uri Treisman, mathematician and founder of the Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin.

“We’ve described the principles we see in common across this work and why it is especially promising  for students from low-­‐income and underserved populations. We want to add momentum and legitimacy to the work and embolden leaders to bring it to scale,” said Treisman.

The authors of the document are Achieving the Dream; American Association of Community Colleges; Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin; Complete College America; Education Commission of the States; and Jobs for the Future.

The document does not replace the separate, more comprehensive policy and practice guidance documents issued by the authors but represents a shared commitment to work with state, system and institutional leaders to continue implementation of the principles.

A diverse set of states and major postsecondary organizations have already endorsed the principles as a path forward to significantly improve student success rates, and next month a group of leading philanthropies will meet with the authors to explore areas for collaboration.

A research and learning agenda has also been developed to strengthen and support implementation of the principles.

Additional information, including the full text of the Core Principles document, can be viewed at  www.core‐

Contact  information:

  • Uri Treisman, 512-­471-­6190, Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin
  • Karen Stout, 240-­450‐0075, Achieving the Dream
  • Kay McClenney, 512-470‐3397, American Association of Community Colleges
  • Stan Jones, 317-­829-0483, Complete College America
  • Brian Sponsler, 303‐299‐3615, Education Commission of the States
  • Michael Collins, 617‐728‐4446, Jobs for the Future Endorsing States and Organizations


  • Achieving the Dream
  • American Association of Community Colleges   American Association of State Colleges and Universities Association of Public and Land-­‐grant Universities Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Center for Community College Student Engagement
  • Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin Complete College America
  • Education Commission of the States Jobs for the Future
  • NASPA ‐ Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education

States & Organizations within States

  • California ­‐ Central Valley Higher Education Consortium
  • Colorado ‐ Colorado Department of Higher Education
  • DC -­ University of District of Columbia Community College
  • Georgia ‐ University System of Georgia
  • Hawaii -­ University of Hawai’i System
  • Illinois ‐ Illinois Board of Higher Education
  • Indiana -­ Indiana Commission for Higher Education
  • Kentucky -­ Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education
  • Maryland -­ Maryland Higher Education Commission
  • Missouri ‐ Missouri Department of Higher Education
  • Montana ‐ Montana University System
  • New Mexico -­‐ New Mexico Department of Higher Education
  • Northern Marianas Islands ‐ Northern Marianas College   
  • Ohio ‐ Ohio Department of Higher Education
  • Oklahoma -­ Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
  • Rhode Island ‐ Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner
  • Tennessee -­ Tennessee Board of Regents
  • West Virginia -­ West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission


Quotes from the Authors


“This represents a transition from a system that served some students well to a system that serves all students well.” Uri Treisman, mathematician and founder of the Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin.


“The release of these principles indicates a broadening of support and a reinforcement of the evidence that many more students could succeed if they are placed directly into college-­‐level work and given additional academic support as a corequisite rather than a prerequisite. This strategy, which we call Corequisite Remediation, eliminates attrition points, boosts introductory (gateway) course completion, and advances our work to close attainment gaps."  Stan Jones, President, Complete College America


“In our outreach and consultation with state policy leaders, we’re seeing a distinct trend among states in moving this work forward—which is great news for students, colleges and the economy.” Brian   Sponsler, Director of Postsecondary and Workforce Development, Education Commission of the States


“Jobs for the Future supports Core Principles for Transforming Remediation within a Comprehensive Student Success Strategy as an important conversation starter. These principles represent a high-­‐level, comprehensive snapshot of developmental education reform. JFF looks forward to collaborating with community colleges, state policymakers, and the completion reform community on effective implementation informed by and respectful of on-­‐the-­‐ground realities and experiences. Working in concert with our partners, we will unpack the evidence base, look closely at how to scale exemplary strategies, and gain a better understanding of the institutional capacity, costs, and policy supports needed to expand proven approaches.” Gina Burkhardt, President and CEO, Jobs for the Future


“Through the deep engagement of their faculty, Achieving the Dream colleges have been leaders in developing innovative, accelerated ways to improve all students' learning journeys to completion. These principles articulate what we have learned over the last decade about what works. We believe they hold the key to greater equity and student success, and Achieving the Dream is eager to support our entire Network of colleges and their faculties in bringing these core principles to scale.” Dr. Karen A. Stout, President and CEO, Achieving the Dream


"In their efforts to help reclaim the American Dream, community colleges must address the needs of a remarkably diverse student population, many of whom arrive at their open doors underprepared for college-­‐level work. As they strive to meet that challenge, colleges will welcome this new guidance on thoroughly transforming developmental education." Kay McClenney, Senior Advisor to the President/CEO of American Association of Community Colleges



Press Release Files

core_principles_press_release.pdf138.97 KB

Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 220 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing academic achievement gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with nearly 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 41 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students.

Follow us on Twitter @achievethedream

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