Postsecondary Persistence and Completion: Increasing opportunities

Why Is It Important?

Postsecondary education attainment greatly improves the chances of greater lifelong success for our students. Students who receive some sort of postsecondary credential are more likely to be employed and advance in a career. And increasing the number of postsecondary credentials in our community helps to drive a stronger local economy, greater individual earning power and better quality of life.

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Students who drop out of Cincinnati State often leave with debt, self-recrimination and an aversion to hearing from the community and technical college.

“Cincinnati State has difficulty reaching stopped out students,” Humanities and Sciences Dean Geoffrey Woolf said. “When they see an email, they assume it’s about collection,” he said.

But Cincinnati State and other post-secondary institutions would rather draw former students back into the classroom. By finishing a degree or credential, these “stopped-out” students can boost their earnings’ potential and see more job prospects.

That’s why Woolf happily taps into StrivePartnership’s community outreach network to reach the stopped out students and develop a plan to get them back in school.

“Strive is working in different pockets of the community than we are,” he said. “The fact that they’re working from the cradle means they have access to broader family and community data so that we can approach this not just on the individual student level but target communities where there are already effective programs in place.”

The collaboration is part of a broader StrivePartnership-led effort across Ohio, in partnership with Learn to Earn Dayton and the Summit Education Initiative in Akron, to encourage a network of other cradle-to-career non-profits to mobilize regional coalitions to draw students back to college to complete their certification or degrees. These coalitions include employers, elected officials, philanthropists, non-profits and community-based organizations.

The effort also aims to adjust state policy to make it easier to succeed, including removing financial aid barriers such as one institution withholding transcripts from a community college as leverage to be repaid. “There has to be a way we can work collegially,” Woolf said.

The initiative is aligned with other statewide efforts focused on adult learners, including Philanthropy Ohio’s Complete to Compete campaign and the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s Finish for the Future program. It all is aimed at raising degree attainment of Ohioans to 65% in 2025 from the current 43%.

The StrivePartnership effort has produced a communications toolkit for Ohio cradle-to-career organizations with consistent messaging has been developed to recruit more stakeholders.

It also is gathering data from community colleges around the state from which a focused strategy and regional goals will be established.

College Persistence and Graduation Data Definition

This data represents high school graduates from Cincinnati, Covington and Newport – showing their progression through the next six years of post-secondary education, as tracked via the National Student Clearinghouse.

Cincinnati, Ohio

Covington, Kentucky

Newport, Kentucky

 All data as of December 17, 2018