The U.S. Department of Education (ED) on Tuesday released a resource guide to help practitioners increase access to college education.
Inspired by the President Obama’s America’s College Promise plan to make two years of community college free for responsible students, letting students earn the first half of a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree and earn skills needed in the workforce at no cost, the America’s College Promise Playbook “focuses on strategies that bring partners together to serve students across all stages of their college and career pathways,” according to ED.
The playbook offers strategies on tuition-free community college programs to benefit hard-working students, as well as strategies to strengthen the community college experience to increase enrollment, retention and completion.
The playbook also outlines five key steps that have been used in launching successful College Promise programs:
- Identifying community needs and opportunities.
- Building a team and developing partnerships to strengthen educational quality.
- Designing a high-quality program that serves the community’s and students’ needs.
- Developing a sustainable funding model.
- Evaluating and assessing program effectiveness to learn what works for continuous improvement.
There are case studies of Promise programs from state, city, urban, and rural levels. Effective employer-community college partnerships also are highlighted in the playbook, including programs involving Alpena Community College in Michigan and the Collin County Community College District in Texas.
On Tuesday, as part of the Education Department’s 2016 Opportunity Across America Bus Tour, Education Secretary John B. King visited Pellissippi State Community College in Tennessee where President Obama originally announced the America’s College Promise proposal, which was inspired by the Tennessee Promise, in January 2015.