is a bold national effort to help more community college students
succeed, with a special focus on students of color and low-income
students. Our approach uses ground-level strategies to accomplish
big-picture outcomes. Achieving the Dream proceeds from the
premise that success begets success — and every incremental
milestone for every student can be positively affected by
community college leaders and educators. Each passing grade,
each semester completed, each certificate and degree counts.
Community colleges can help deliver on the promise of the
American dream — in fact, no educational enterprise is better
positioned to do so.
Nine out of ten students in the United States say they hope to
go to college. Fewer than half — roughly 39 percent of American
adults — actually complete a two- or four-year degree. Students
of color and low-income students, who have traditionally faced
substantial barriers to success in college, are even less likely
to complete degrees. Today, adults without degrees find
themselves competing for a declining number of low-paying
jobs and ineligible for a growing number of higher-paying ones.
Community colleges — and particularly community colleges
taking part in Achieving the Dream — can change that.
Achieving the Dream’s student-centered model of institutional
improvement is focused on creating a culture of evidence in
which data and inquiry drive broad-based institutional efforts to
close achievement gaps and improve student outcomes overall.
This multi-faceted initiative seeks change at the institutional
level as well as in state and national policy and through research
and public engagement.