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Complete College America, College Promise Campaign and Achieving the Dream Release Framework for Designing College Promise Programs "Built for Completion"

Collaborative Report Establishes Structure for Student Success in Access Efforts

Indianapolis - Complete College America (CCA), the College Promise Campaign, and Achieving the Dream (ATD) today announced the release of Promise with a Purpose: College Promise Programs “Built for Completion,” a joint effort to advocate for states, cities and institutions to incorporate an intentional framework for student success into the College Promise programs that are sweeping the nation.

Promise programs have emerged in more than 200 communities across 44 states, including 16 statewide programs that have passed through legislation or executive orders. These efforts to expand access to higher education through the guarantee of tuition and fees for eligible students have set a powerful example across the country, unlocking the opportunity of a college education for many more students. In an effort to ensure the promise of college access is more intentionally connected to the promise of degree attainment, the joint report provides guidance to ensure programs leverage proven reforms to boost student success.

Promise with a Purpose lays out a collection of evidence-based strategies for institutions, communities, and states to incorporate into their Promise initiatives. These strategies include providing intensive onboarding advising to help students choose a program of study within their first academic year, ensuring students enroll in critical gateway math and English courses in their first academic year and encouraging students to enroll in 15 credits per semester or 30 credits each year. The report also highlights institutions that have successfully implemented these interventions, securing increased retention, higher graduation rates, and shortened time to degree.

“We know that a college degree is a key driver of social mobility, and efforts all over the country are making great strides to throw open the doors of our colleges and universities to many more students,” said Complete College America Vice President Blake Johnson. “We’re proud to partner with these incredible organizations to ensure the promise we are making is not just one of access, but ultimately of college completion.”

“The College Promise Campaign is thrilled to partner with CCA and ATD to help community colleges and universities increase college opportunity, affordability, and success,” said College Promise Campaign Executive Director Martha Kanter. “We need to double the number of self-prepared graduates for our workforce and community life in general. Each graduate increases the prosperity of our democratic society.”

"Promise programs open doors to our community colleges for students traditionally underserved by our colleges. This new access work is important and it makes Achieving the Dream’s work around completion, especially in designing holistic student supports, more urgent than ever to ensure economic and social mobility for Promise students,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, President and CEO, Achieving the Dream, and President Emerita, Montgomery County Community College.

Promise with a Purpose is the result of the collaborative leadership of Sarah Ancel, Angela Cammack and Julia Lawton who spearheaded this effort to link research to high impact practices that increase student success. The College Promise Campaign, Achieving the Dream and Complete College America look forward to serving as a resource as education, business, government and philanthropy leaders work to build or refine College Promise programs in their communities and states.

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About Complete College America

Established in 2009, Complete College America is a national nonprofit focused on significantly increasing the number of Americans with quality career certificates or college degrees and closing attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations. For more information, visit


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