The American Association of Community Colleges launched its 21st Century Initiative to drive the transformation community colleges need to dramatically improve college completion.

The 21st Century Initiative began with a listening tour that gathered ideas from students, college faculty and staff, administrators, trustees, state policymakers, and college presidents and chancellors across the country. Then the 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges—using findings from the listening tour and safeguarding fundamental values of open access, equity, and excellence—began to envision a new future for community colleges.

The Commission’s report, Reclaiming the American Dream, Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future, set the goal of increasing rates for completion of community college credentials (associate degrees and certificates) by 50% by 2020. The Commission also concluded that the only way to attain this goal is to transform community colleges—to redesign students’ educational experiences, reinvent institutional roles, and reset the system so it better promotes student success. The report set forth seven recommendations to drive this transformation.