Published on 2013/10/18

Student Success Centers Gaining Traction

Student Success Centers have been established in five states to help higher education administrators better understand and overcome the challenges they and their colleagues are facing.

The Kresge Foundation has funded Success Centers in Arkansas, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and Texas. Recently, a request for proposals was released by the Foundation in partnership with Jobs for the Future (JFF) indicating that an additional three states are expected to be funded to establish more Student Success Centers. A policy paper released this month by JFF explains how these success centers are improving performance at community colleges statewide.

The paper shed light on the creation of the student success centers, borne from 11 colleges that signed onto the Postsecondary State Policy Network led by Achieving the Dream and JFF in 2012. The Network was an initiative to improve higher education by ensuring student completion rates continue to progress.

“The colleges and their supporting associations came to believe that their hard work could be strengthened and amplified if there were some statewide, cross-college supports in place,” the paper states.

According to the paper, the Student Success Centers aim to bring college leaders together to encourage reforms, accelerate the completion agenda and discuss policy adjustments in higher education.

“The Centers bring added capacity and a laser-sharp focus on student success to policy discussions,” the paper states. “The result is deeper college involvement in and more progress on important policy discussions related to topics such as transfer and college readiness.”

California could be one of the next three states to receive Student Success Center funding from the Kresge Foundation. Scott Lay, president and chief executive officer of Community Colleges League of California, said that college leaders are assessing whether or not to apply for the program.

“Our goal would be to set this up so that it’s a resource for faculty,” Lay told Inside Higher Ed.

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