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Project Win-Win

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August 27, 2010 07:34 pm

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The Institute for Higher Education Policy has paired up with the Lumina Foundation for Education to create Project Win-Win, an effort to contact former community college and college student dropouts and let them know that either a) their academic records qualify them for an associate’s degree that can be retroactively awarded or b) they were only short of earning an associate degree by a few credits and are welcome back to complete their education.

According to Project Win-Win, if U.S. community colleges and four-year colleges that award associate’s degrees were to undertake a similar initiative, at minimum, the total number of associate degrees in the country would increase by 12 IHEP_Logopercent. Project Win-Win came to this calculation by projecting the results of a pilot project involving six community colleges in Louisiana, New York, Ohio, and three four-year colleges in Louisiana that award associate degrees. After seven months, these institutions had retroactively awarded 600 students associate degrees and informed almost 1,600 students that they were only 9 credits away from earning an associated degree. To see a list of the current participating institutions, click here.

On the one hand, this is an admirable effort and one that has been somewhat replicated on the high school level with programs that try to reengage dropouts. For example, the Los Angeles Unified School District will be hosting their 3rd annual “Student Recovery Day” in an attempt to reach out to the “no-show” students that didn’t return for the fall semester. According to their web site, in the past this effort has resulted in hundreds of students returning to school.

On the other hand, some have argued that this seems like a quick and an easy way to raise a college’s graduation numbers. And it could be argued that the same manpower and time could be better used to help current students stay on track to earn their diploma. What do you think?

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