ATD focuses colleges, policy-makers and others on understanding and making better use of student outcome data and acts on many fronts, including: direct, on-campus coaching and technical assistance; providing original research on improving student success; assisting with faculty, student and public engagement strategies; and working to affect public policy at the state and national levels.
Key strategies to guide the four-year business plan (2010 - 2013) for national expansion include: accept 20-30 new colleges annually, while charging colleges for participation and working to reduce costs; prioritize serving the 100 colleges and 10 states that account for 71% of minority and 53% of low income enrolled community college students; increase policy investment to transform a select group of 3-5 states; and increase national policy presence.
Community colleges are widely recognized as the single most affordable and accessible entry point to higher education. The nation's 1,200 community colleges educate nearly half of undergraduates, yet only 36% of freshmen earn a certificate or degree within six years. Moreover , of the 18.9 million new jobs that will be created by 2014, nearly 65% will require at least some postsecondary education. This situation makes it imperative to improve the success rates of students enrolling in America's community colleges.
Launched in 2005, the Achieve the Dream initiative aimed to help community colleges make the institutional changes required to dramatically increase the number of students who succeed in reaching their goals. These goals may include earning a community college certificate or associate degree, pursuing a bachelor's degree, or obtaining a better job. The initiative operated as a demonstration from 2004 to 2009, and eventually grew to 102 colleges in 22 states with over 20 philanthropic and state funding partners.
SEEKING: Financial Resources, Implementing Partners, Best Practices Information
- Anchor funders to support general operations and development of the ATD organizations
- Geographic funders to support participation of colleges in their community, state or region
Seeking philanthropic support for three activities essential to ATD's successful operation and management: state and federal policy, knowledge development and communications