This brief, based on an expert group discussion hosted by the American Youth Policy Forum on March 20, 2017, describes the major themes, challenges and strategies related to postsecondary credential completion. Attendees explored obstacles to postsecondary credential attainment, the role that various systems play in supporting completion, research-based strategies to support student success, and policy opportunities to support stronger pathways.
Education experts from New York, Colorado and New Hampshire described ongoing strategies to expose students to career and early college opportunities early on to bridge pathways to postsecondary success. New York’s Guttman Community College requires first-year students to attend a Summer Bridge program where they can get a head start on rigorous college preparatory coursework. In Denver, Mayor Hancock’s Denver Education Compact aims to bring together education, workforce and employer partners to create pathways to postsecondary credentials. Meanwhile, the New Hampshire Community College System has focused efforts on bridging secondary and postsecondary education, in part through a statewide dual enrollment program called Running Start.
The brief synthesizes the day’s events into the following themes:
- System alignment and breaking down silos
- Creating communities of practice
- Effective data use
- Redefining success
The discussion summary provides a useful introduction to common challenges and approaches related to postsecondary credential completion.