Why State Policies Fall Short on College Completion

December 18, 2014

The decade-old college completion push has fallen short at the state level because of failures to bring policy solutions to large numbers of lower-income students, according to a new report from Jobs for the Future. State policy makers too often are focused on "quick fixes" and sweeping legislation, the report said. But those strategies often are hindered by an "implementation gap."

The group said states and colleges must work together to help large percentages of low-income and nontraditional students get to graduation. Recommendations from the report include redesigning developmental education, using research-based student support services, creating "structured pathways" for students and the strategic use of data.

"We need to be designing strategies to be implemented at scale, from the beginning," said Lara K. Couturier, the report's author, who leads research and publications for the group's Postsecondary State Policy Network.

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