New Brief Spotlights Innovative Degree Completion Strategies for Adults

A Model Worth Noting: How One Community College Helps More Working Adults Graduate

Over 12 million adult Californians lack a postsecondary credential. Most of these adults are already in the workforce, making them a critical component of the state’s strategy for economic growth—especially the 4 million among them with some college but no degree, who have already invested in higher education. However, enrolling in and completing college is often logistically challenging for many working adults, who need to manage costs while also balancing their jobs and family responsibilities.

The state’s unmet workforce needs present an urgent need to tap into these students’ potential, and the Accelerated College Education (ACE) program of Shasta College offers a promising strategy for reducing common barriers. From Practice to Policy: How Institutions Accelerate Adult Completion and Fuel Prosperity, the second publication in California Competes’ policy brief series focused on institutional innovation, explores the ACE program and how it increases the likelihood of graduation for working adults.

The brief highlights three important policy recommendations to scale this model:

  • Designing credit acceleration strategies for adults older than 25, such as a compressed term format, will help more students complete their degrees while maintaining academic quality.
  • Leveraging existing workforce training investments could reduce students’ costs and increase systemic efficiencies in degree completion efforts at the state and local levels—especially because when workers upskill, employers benefit, too.
  • Improving credit reciprocity across public colleges and universities would enable California’s disproportionately large percentage of adults with some college but no degree to maximize their existing academic achievements and further accelerate completion.

Read the policy brief: From Practice to Policy: How Institutions Accelerate Adult Completion and Fuel Prosperity.

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