College Board, Ohio Education Leaders and State Officials Discuss Innovative Ideas for Improving College Completion in the United States


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Columbus, OH – As the economy continues its sluggish recovery, and as the United States strives to remain competitive in the global marketplace, improving college readiness, access and completion for our students has become an even greater priority. Today, Ohio education leaders and state officials joined together at a College Completion Agenda: State Capitals Campaign event hosted by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center to address this topic. With the College Board’s goal of increasing college completion to 55 percent by 2025 in mind, participants including E. Gordon Gee, The Ohio State University President and Jim Petro, Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, discussed Ohio’s innovative, low-cost programs to aid all students, College Board research on the admissions process for low-income students and areas for improvement and growth.

The State Capitals Campaign focuses on mobilizing the nation and advancing policies and practices that work to increase the proportion of Americans that hold a postsecondary degree by 2025.  The campaign has crossed the nation bringing together governors, policy makers, educators, community advocates and business leaders to advance The College Completion Agenda and return America to its place as a global leader in education attainment. The Agenda is a comprehensive report that includes rigorous indicators (aligned to 10 interdependent recommendations) and charts the progress towards the 55 by 2025 goal.

“As we strive to reclaim our nation’s place at the pinnacle of educational excellence, it is important to form partnerships among groups and institutions that share the same goal. The College Board has found no more valuable partners than the people of Ohio and The Ohio State University,” said Gaston Caperton, College Board President. “Thanks to the efforts of people like Chancellor Petro, President Gee and thousands of dedicated Ohioans, this state has taken a giant leap towards achieving 55 by 2025 and building a strong foundation for future prosperity.”

The University System of Ohio serves as a model of success for addressing the challenges the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center has highlighted in its research. The System has created programming to ensure that career technical, community college and universities work together to provide students with a seamless process to complete their degree in a timely fashion. Key initiatives include:

  •  Making three-year degrees available to all students at all public universities.
  •  Implementing an Advanced Placement (AP)® course guarantee where students who take an AP® test and score a '3' or higher are guaranteed college credit.
    • The University System of Ohio has one of the most comprehensive college credit equivalency transfer programs, taking uncertainty out of the process and saving students in Ohio approximately $47 million last year.  Ohio has implemented dual credit classes and robust post-secondary access in grades 11 and 12.
  •  Creating the Forever Buckeyes to extend the in-state resident tuition rate to any public or private Ohio high school graduate who leaves the state but returns to enroll in an undergraduate or graduate program at an Ohio college  and also establishes residency in Ohio.

“The University System of Ohio is leading the nation in developing and implementing innovative policies aimed at graduating the maximum number of students with the skills employers are seeking, as quickly and cost-effectively as possible,” said Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro.

The Ohio State University, as part of the University System of Ohio, which recently exceeded national averages (for public and private institutions) for both retention and graduation rates for African-American and Hispanic students at its Columbus campus, aids students though:

  • The Preferred Pathway Program, a collaboration between Columbus State Community College and The Ohio State University, which provides a guaranteed, guided route to an Ohio State baccalaureate degree for program participants.
  • A robust Economic Access Initiative to help first-generation and low-income students and their families overcome the hurdles they face when it comes to college access.

“In terms of college access and attainment, Ohio is determined to work together to get it right. And, Ohio State’s Preferred Pathways Program and Economic Access Initiative are just two examples of the University fulfilling its mission as a land-grant institution—to better the lives of 11 million Ohioans by providing access to a world-class education,” said President E. Gordon Gee.

Distinguished participants in today’s event included:

  • Gaston Caperton, President, The College Board
  • E. Gordon Gee, President, The Ohio State University
  • Julie Davis Bell, Education Program Director, National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Mabel Freeman, Assistant Vice President, Undergraduate Admissions & First Year Experience, The Ohio State University
  • Randy Gardner, State Representative
  • Gene Harris, Superintendent, Columbus City Schools
  • David T. Harrison, President, Columbus State Community College
  • Stan Heffner, Ohio State Superintendent, K-12
  • C. Todd Jones, President of the Association of Independent College and Universities of Ohio
  • Jim Petro, Chancellor, Ohio Board of Regents
  • Bruce Walker, Vice Provost of Special Projects University of Texas at Austin and Chair of the Task Force on Admissions in the 21st Century Implementation Committee

The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center was established to help transform education in America. Guided by the College Board’s principles of excellence and equity in education, the Center works to ensure that students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to succeed in college and beyond. Critical connections between policy, research and real-world practice are made to develop innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges in education today. Drawing from the experience of the College Board’s active membership consisting of education professionals from more than 6,000 institutions, priorities include: College Preparation & Access, College Affordability & Financial Aid, and College Admission & Completion.

The College Completion Agenda: State Capitals Campaign celebrates successful and innovative policies and programs within each state that align to the 10 recommendations in the College Completion Agenda Progress Report and the State Policy Guide. The State Capitals Campaign will bring together policymakers, educators, and community and business leaders with the common goal of improving college completion rates, especially among low-income and minority students, and returning the United States to its place as the global leader in educational attainment. The events will highlight different recommendation areas in the College Completion Agenda State Policy Guide, provide briefings on state progress of key indicators, and promote successful state and institution policies and interventions.