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Conveying the Importance of Improving Completion Rates

An open letter released this week by the National Commission on Higher Education urged institutions across the U.S. to increase completion rates in the interest of creating a better-educated workforce.

The letter, written by a group of college presidents, suggests a number of strategies focused on supporting non-traditional students during their journey to degree completion. Additionally, it was recommended that successful initiatives previously implemented by colleges and universities be adopted by more institutions.

The open letter makes reference to the low numbers of Americans graduating from college compared to the high number of enrollments at the institutions.

“This is an unacceptable loss of human potential — a waste of time, resources, and opportunity,” the letter states.

The three steps to increasing completion rates as stated by the open letter are:

  1. Changing the campus culture through proper incorporation of a vision
  2. Improving cost-effectiveness and quality by creating flexibility for adult learners, easing credit transfers and introducing competency-based learning
  3. Better analyzing of data to accurately track student success and identify any struggling students

“Finally, students themselves bear a substantial share of the respon­sibility for their own education,” the letter states. “Institutions can and must take additional steps to increase the chances that students will be success­ful, but it is the students who must show up for class, do the required work, and demonstrate mastery.”