US Department of Ed Looks for Advice on College Completion

As part of the effort to keep students in postsecondary education, the Department of Education invited members of the higher education community to discuss and share best practices that have been proven to help students successfully complete their studies.

Continuing its commitment to helping America lead the world in college graduates, the Department of Education gathered some of the leading researchers at the “Evidence-Action-Innovation” college symposium to develop a toolkit for institutions to reference.

Around 50 of the nation’s leading researchers, policy experts and practitioners from postsecondary institutions convened at the symposium.

The discussions focused on best practices that support students’ academic transitions through accelerated programs, learning communities and bridge programs, as well as advising, coaching and mentoring.

Speaking at the college completion symposium, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said:

“Our task now is to brainstorm more creative ideas and scale up those practices that are most successful in making sure that all students – regardless of income, race or background – are crossing the finish line.”

U.S. Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter also spoke:

“We know that answers for improving quality and completion will come from professors, deans, and leaders in the field who have first-hand knowledge about what works to keep students in school and help them succeed.

“Our goal is to highlight strategies that have had the greatest impact on students’ success without saddling them with unnecessary costs or debt.”

The Department published a notice in the Federal Register which calls for information about promising practices that keep more students in college, with an emphasis on the quality of what students learn and timely attainment of degrees or certificates. The Department will then post material that has been submitted on the site.

This comes after Obama’s State of the Union address, in which the President set out his blueprint for keeping college affordable and reiterated that keeping college within reach of all Americans is vital to achieving the 2020 goal.