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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Those with ‘Some’ College Need More Push

Some 31 million adults in the U.S. have earned enough college credits to be classified as “near-completers,” but it will take a village to help them cross the finish line to graduation, according to a new report from the Education Commission for the States.

The commission “looked at the progress of legislation and initiatives in the area,” said an article in Education Dive, and found they were overall insufficient to boost graduation rates among dropouts. Some legislative measures were well-intentioned and may have helped new enrollees—such as state policies and funded programs designed to improve the affordability of higher education—but they didn’t move the near-completers any closer to completion.

One reason is that near-completers may have been unaware of such policies and programs, or weren’t motivated to take advantage of them. The senior policy analyst who wrote the report told Education Dive that “a consistent hurdle for states is they often need a champion for near-completers, in the form of a governor or other prominent figure, to help garner interest from institutions, policymakers, and the community at large” in contacting and encouraging near-completers to return to the classroom.

The report lauded those states that had introduced initiatives aimed directly at near-completers. For example, the University of Rhode Island works with the commercial fisheries industry while in Tennessee a new “last-dollar” scholarship program assists adults who need just a little more aid to cover the rest of their school costs.

Community colleges generally do a better job of reconnecting with dropouts than four-year institutions, according to the report.

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