Clark State College has joined the Complete College Accelerator, an ambitious nationwide initiative to improve student success and close gaps in college access and completion. Clark State College, in conjunction with the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, is one of over 80 higher education institutions nationwide to join Complete College America, a national nonprofit organization on a mission to raise postsecondary attainment nationally. This project, Intermediaries for Scale is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Through its participation, Clark State will implement research-based practices designed to dramatically increase college completion on a statewide scale.
“Students are at the heart of everything Clark State does. We look forward to watching our students thrive and succeed as a result of working with Complete College America. Education changes lives and we want all of our students to achieve at high levels and move into fulfilling careers in our community,” said Dr. Adrienne Forgette, the Vice President of Academic Affairs. “This project will help us—and our students—do this. We are grateful to be part of this work.”
Utilizing funding from the national grant program, Clark State College and OACC will work with Complete College America to conduct assessments of institutional performance, build data capacity, and develop and implement strategies to improve student outcomes. As part of the national Complete College Accelerator network, Clark State College will have access to innovations and best practices from other Accelerator systems and institutions. Clark State College will also share its successes and best practices with institutions nationwide as part of the Accelerator.
Nationally, about 90% of students from under-resourced families do not graduate within six years–let alone four. According to NASPA’s Center for First-generation Student Success, 56% of first-generation college students had not attained a postsecondary credential after six years. Research from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics shows that 6-year graduation rates for Black and Latinx students stand at 51.5%, lower than graduation rates for White students.
“While persistence and retention are finally returning to pre-pandemic levels at both two-year and four-year institutions, there are troubling gaps in access, completion, and career outcomes that continue to persist for students from underserved communities,” said Yolanda Watson Spiva, Ph.D., president of CCA. “As institutions and economies continue to shift following the pandemic, taking action now is critical to long-term success. Through the Complete College Accelerator, these eleven states and more than eighty participating institutions will build their capacity to scale, implement, and sustain evidence-based practices that improve college completion rates for all students. We are proud to partner with Clark State College and OACC on this effort.”
The Complete College Accelerator builds upon CCA’s long track record of developing the capacity of states, higher education systems and campuses to create and implement data-informed transformative policies and practices. The selection of state partners is the result of a competitive RFP process, which launched in February. Participating states were selected from members of the Complete College America Alliance—which includes senior leadership from states, systems, institutional consortia and partner organizations—and in turn selected the participating institutions.
Originally launched in January 2020, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Intermediaries for Scale Initiative is designed to help build the capacity of colleges and universities across the country to implement proven strategies for improving student success at scale. CCA is among six selected entities that will now work over a 5-year period to increase student success through institutional transformation. The members of the IFS Cohort include UNCF, American Association of State Colleges & Universities (AASCU), American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), Excelencia in Education, and Growing Inland Achievement (GIA).
In addition to the Ohio Association of Community Colleges the initial cohort of Complete College Accelerator states includes:
To learn more, visit completecollege.org/intermediaries-for-scale.