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ERIC Number: ED512591
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun
Pages: 25
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Utilizing College Access & Completion Innovation Funds to Improve Postsecondary Attainment in California
Jones, Dennis P.; Ewell, Peter T.
National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NJ1)
The College Access and Completion Innovation Fund proposed by the Obama administration in the FY 2009-10 budget holds considerable promise as a tool to leverage badly needed change in higher education nationally--and especially in California. It is potentially the most flexible tool among those currently available to promote attainment of President Obama's goal for higher education: "by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world." Presumably, states will have considerable latitude in ways they use funds to further the College Completion agenda. Accordingly, this policy brief has been written with two goals in mind: (1) To contribute to the on-going discussion about the design criteria that should be established at the federal level to govern state use of College Completion Program funds; and (2) To recommend a subset of activities that would do the most to further California's contribution toward the national goal. The specific design criteria for the program recommended to the federal government are as follows: (1) Funds should be allocated to state higher education agencies or entities designated to act in their stead; (2) States receiving program funds should commit to establishing College Completion goals that contribute at least each state's fair share of meeting the national goal; (3) The notion of "college completers" should be broadly defined to include certificates with workplace acceptance as well as associate and baccalaureate degrees; (4) The innovations funded should be designed at scale; they should not be "demonstration projects" that might later be taken to scale; (5) The program should fund state initiatives and should not be a device for distributing resources across the full spectrum of institutions. States should be encouraged to direct investments centrally or towards the types of institutions that can make the greatest contributions to achieving the goal; (6) The program should encourage solutions designed to educate more adults; (7) Funds should be used for one-time purposes; they should not be used to create on-going commitments requiring eventual state replacement of federal funds; and (8) The program should emphasize actions taken by postsecondary institutions, not the public schools. This paper catalogues several approaches to utilizing funds within these criteria. These are of two kinds: approaches that fund activities designed to improve college completion directly and incentives that retrospectively reward institutions for greater success. (Contains 6 figures and 9 footnotes.)
National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. 3035 Center Green Drive Suite 150, Boulder, CO 80301. Tel: 303-497-0301; Fax: 303-497-0338; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Authoring Institution: National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS)
Identifiers - Location: California