A number of colleges have made changes that are starting to lead more students to degrees, but states need “integrated reform strategies” to scale up promising new approaches, the report concludes.
“We know that colleges can redesign themselves in ways that … improve student success … [but] there is no silver bullet,” says Lara Couturier, JFF’s program director. “We need to look more holistically at the environment in which the colleges are operating,” she says.
Eight to 10 states already have a group of community colleges that are creating new “structured pathways” for students, Ms. Couturier estimates. These include elements such as counseling about which courses will help them earn the degree they seek, faster tracks to credit-bearing courses while they catch up on academic skills, and easier ways to transfer credits to four-year institutions.