Provides direction and guidance to both community college leaders and policymakers on making use of structured pathways as a means of increasing college completion numbers.

“This publication aims to inform state policymakers and community college system leaders about key lessons from research, and from Completion by Design and other important initiatives, including Achieving the Dream and Jobs for the Future’s Student Success Center Network.  It provides direction for state leaders seeking to support their community colleges in such an ambitious undertaking as structured pathways, urging them to commit to the same level of change to their policy frameworks by considering how state policies impact success at every step of the student experience, from student connection to entry, progress, and completion, and how they can build an infrastructure to support and sustain reforms.  This level of commitment is necessary to achieve scaled, dramatic improvements in student success, particularly for those struggling to gain a foothold in today’s economy” (p.4).

(Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

Authors identify the following challenges, which “taken together…have resulted in an implementation gap across the entire sector of the elements [that] need to [be] in place to help students complete college” (p.3): • “Demographic and economic challenges” (p.2). • “Problems of scale” (p.2). • “Challenges in delivery” (p.3). • “State policy undermines quality implementation” (p.3). “To support the adoption of transformative changes, such as structured or guided pathways across colleges, states, and the nation—so that change is deeper, smarter, more sustainable, helps colleges reshape their cultures and the classroom, and helps community college students who are struggling to succeed in today’s economy—JFF has developed the following two core recommendations for state-level actors and policymakers that add up to [JFF’s] DesignForScale approach: • Recommendation 1: Create state policy conditions that support colleges’ efforts to undertake comprehensive, integrated redesign. Recommendations for policymakers to analyze and redesign state policy conditions, so that policy encourages and supports colleges’ efforts to tackle transformative changes with integrated interventions, such as structured pathways. • Recommendation 2: Build state structures to set the conditions for scaling up reform. Recommendations for how state policymakers and colleges can set the conditions and build the infrastructure necessary to bring reforms to scale” (p.6). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)