Connect2Complete Aims to Increase Oregon’s Community College Graduation Rates
Portland, Oregon (July 9, 2013)- Oregon Campus Compact (ORCC) announces a new program, Connect2Complete, focused on improving graduation rates for Oregon community college students through community-engaged learning and service. Funding from the Oregon Commission on Voluntary Action & Service and the Corporation for National and Community Service will place 120 AmeriCorps members, who will each serve 300 hours of service, on eight community college campuses across Oregon.
Connect2Complete is a replication of a national Campus Compact program currently operating on nine community college campuses in Florida, Ohio, and Washington states and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Connect2Complete helps students in developmental education complete their required coursework more quickly, reach their educational goals, and ultimately, graduate with a certificate or degree.
Developmental education is for any student who has earned a GED or high school diploma but is assessed, through a standardized test, as not being ready for college level work. Nationally, only 17% of students who are assessed as needing at least one developmental education class will ever complete a certificate or degree.
This is important for Oregon because the state has set ambitious goals to improve graduation rates. Portland Community College, like other community colleges around the nation, has a high percentage of first-time-in-college credit students testing into developmental education. At Chemeketa Community College in Salem, school officials estimate close to two-thirds of the entire student population are assessed as needing at least one developmental education class.
ORCC, one of 34 state affiliates of national Campus Compact, represents 18 colleges and universities in Oregon committed to deepening the public purpose of higher education. Research has shown students who volunteer have higher GPAs, are more likely to graduate, and are more likely to stay engaged in their community after graduation. Connect2Complete will build community-engaged learning and service into developmental education classes, which will help bring coursework to life and engage students with different learning styles.
Additionally, the students serving as the 120 AmeriCorps members will be current community college students and will receive a $1,000 Eli Segal AmeriCorps Education Award from the Corporation for National and Community Service that they can use to pay for tuition or qualified student loans.
Dr. Jessica Howard, President of Portland Community College Southeast Campus and new member of Oregon Campus Compact’s board said, “PCC is interested in the Connect2Compete opportunity and model. It appears to be a win-win-win for everyone involved. Students, both those in the classes and those serving as AmeriCorps members, stand to benefit; the community will benefit from the service of those students; and when graduation rates increase not only will the college benefit from increased revenue but the entire State will benefit from graduates with higher earning potential and a stronger inclination to be of service to their communities.”
Community colleges can learn more about Connect2Complete here. Proposals are due August 16th and grant awards will be announced August 30th.
ORCC’s Executive Director, Josh Todd said, “We are excited to partner with community colleges to improve the educational outcomes for some of the students with the most significant barriers to graduation. Oregon Campus Compact, through the program evaluation of Connect2Complete, is also committed to showing that community-engaged learning isn’t just the “right” thing to do but the “smart” thing to do. This pedagogy is a cost-effective way to improve the outcomes and impact of higher education in Oregon.”
For more information on Connect2Complete contact Josh Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-406-3575.
All decisions are contingent on final approval from the Corporation for National and Community Service.