Conducting a Scan of Local Efforts to Promote Postsecondary Success

With support from Lumina Foundation, NLC's Institute for Youth, Education and Families has developed a new series of publications highlighting city strategies to increase local college completion rates.  The series includes three municipal action guides on the following topics:

Also with support from Lumina Foundation, NLC commissioned an analysis by Professor Kenneth K. Wong of Brown University on the role that mayors are playing to support college access and completion in their cities.

The second guide in the series, Conducting a Scan of Local Efforts to Promote Postsecondary Success , which was co-authored by OMG Center for Collaborative Learning, provides an in-depth look at the important information gathering work that must precede a comprehensive postsecondary initiative.  In most communities, many entities are involved in addressing the key obstacles to access and completion, from inadequate academic preparation and financial barriers to lack of information on college options and application processes and limited supports for students enrolled in a postsecondary program. 

An inventory of the various services, policies and partnerships that impact students can reveal major challenges and opportunities within the existing network of supports.  Cities are in a unique position to fill gaps in the wraparound services that help students meet their needs for housing, health care, transportation and child care.  These services can mean the difference between credential attainment and dropping out.  City leaders can also broker partnerships between colleges, economic development agencies and the business community to ensure that students receive the training and skills demanded by local employers.  Key action steps for conducting a scan that are described in the guide include:

  • Catalog the postsecondary success actors and gather data on local college enrollment and completion rates;
  • Conduct a thorough inventory of the current system of programs, policies, partnerships, and supports available to students across the educational pipeline;
  • Analyze challenges and opportunities within the college access and success system; and
  • Use scan findings to launch new college access and success initiatives.