MDRC Announces New Initiative: Scaling Up Community College Efforts for Student Success (SUCCESS)


MDRC is pleased to announce the Scaling Up Community College Efforts for Student Success (SUCCESS) initiative, with support from Arnold Ventures. SUCCESS seeks to improve graduation rates for traditionally underserved students at community colleges, by helping states and institutions align their resources with evidence-driven practices. SUCCESS combines components from multiple programs that have proven themselves to be effective at helping students succeed in college. It seeks to create financially sustainable programs that will dramatically improve graduation rates at scale.

SUCCESS programs will be built around elements derived from more than 15 years of postsecondary research conducted by MDRC and others. These program components include: frequent proactive advising; financial incentives tied to service usage; strategies focused on increasing academic momentum (like requiring full-time enrollment or encouraging summer/winter enrollment); and the use of real-time data to support student progress.

MDRC will provide in-depth technical assistance to up to nine colleges from four states to develop new, financially sustainable student support programs that will be implemented beginning in fall 2019. Institutions already participating include:

  • California: Bakersfield College and Chaffey College
  • Indiana: Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington, Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, and Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Service Areas
  • New Jersey: Essex County College and Passaic County Community College

  • Ohio: Stark State College

States and institutions will be encouraged to align SUCCESS programs with existing statewide student success initiatives and may focus on specific student populations, such as low-income students, underrepresented minorities, or adults. By disseminating the results and providing additional technical assistance, MDRC will support the expansion of SUCCESS within and beyond these initial states and colleges.