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Community Colleges Collaborate To Boost Graduation Rates

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 3:46 PM

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Three two-year colleges are working on a plan to boost graduation rates at community colleges around the state. Ideastream's Michelle Kanu has the story

Thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Stark State, Lorain County Community, and Sinclair Community College will spend the next year developing a strategy to help more students finish school with an associates degree or professional certificate. 

Statewide and nationally, only 22 percent of first-time college students attending community college full-time complete a degree within three years.

Three other states were also awarded funding as part of the foundation’s national Completion by Design project.

Rebecca Priest is the executive director of strategic grants at Stark State.  She says the campuses will use the money to review their programs and services that help students graduate. The goal is to pull all of these into one strategy that can be replicated at other schools.

Priest: “There have been a lot of best practices developed individually out there at different schools, but no has taken a variety of them and tried to pull them all together into a system that will really impact completion at a greater rate.”

The Ohio group hasn’t yet developed goals for their graduation rates.  Priest says the group will unveil their plan next April and then get additional money from the foundation to implement it over five years.

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