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National Competition Launched to Increase Graduation Rates
Complete College America

March, 2011

Complete College America today launched the Completion Innovation Challenge, a new $10 million competitive grant program for states designed to inspire and enhance efforts to significantly boost college completion and close attainment gaps.  A national organization whose sole mission is to work with states to increase the number of Americans with college degrees or certificates of workplace value, Complete College America has established the grant program with funding support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Beginning today, Complete College America is inviting Governors from all 50 states to take up the Completion Innovation Challenge by submitting proposals to win one of ten $1 million, 18-month implementation grants.  Grants will be awarded to states that produce the best plans to develop and deploy innovative, state-wide strategies to substantially increase college completion.

In America, only about half of those who pursue a 4-year degree full-time finish it – after six years.  Worse yet, barely better than two in ten pursuing an associate degree full-time make it to graduation day in three years.  Part-time students fare even worse.

"Simply doing more of the same will not achieve the gains necessary to significantly raise student achievement and ensure America's competitiveness," said Stan Jones, president of Complete College America.  Instead, the organization aims to leverage the grants to stimulate states to innovate and implement reforms in key policy areas it deems essential for real and lasting impact:  

[ For complete coverage of politics and policy, go to Yahoo! Politics ]


  • Shifting to Performance Funding to reward for more student success, not just higher headcounts.  
  • Reducing Time-to-Degree and Accelerating Success to accelerate achievement, prevent damaging delays, and cut costs.
  • Transforming Remediation to move students into first-year, full-credit classes as quickly as possible so precious time, motivation and money are not lost.
  • Restructuring Delivery for Today's Students to help the new majority of students balance the jobs they need with the higher education they desire.
  • Deploying Transformative Technology to customize, accelerate and support student learning for added convenience, efficiency and affordability. 

States must express their intent to apply for funding by March 18, 2011.  Additional information on the Completion Innovation Challenge can be found at



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