It was recently announced that the Washington Sate Legislature, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Ford Foundation will fund a new program known as the Washington State Student Completion Initiative. The initiative will focus on increasing community college completion rates through new programs and the continuation of successful pilot projects. One of the new programs will focus on the redesign of 80 high enrollment, gatekeeper, and pre-college courses which are taken by 321,000 students each year.
According to the press release, students often have difficulty completing these courses due to the cost of the textbooks and the availability of the courses. As a result, the program will utilize open textbooks and educational resources, as well as existing library resources to reduce the cost for students. In addition, more online or blended courses can be made available. The use of open resources will also give faculty the opportunity to improve on the courses and allow the courses to be shared throughout the state and beyond.