TC Shares in $10 million Award for National Federal Research Center on Postsecondary Education
- Easing the Transition
Community colleges offer hope to many at-risk students and a variety of programs aims to help them get there. A TC study finds that one solution may be to set high expectations and provide academic and practical services to help students achieve those expectations.
TC's Community College Research Center (CCRC) has been chosen by the U.S. Department of Education to house a new National Research and Development Center on Postsecondary Education under the direction of CCRC's current Director, Professor Thomas Bailey. With an award of $9, 813,619 over five years, the Center will be the nation's premier federally funded research center on higher education. Under the sponsorship of the federal Institute for Education Sciences, CCRC will partner with MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan social policy research organization; the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia; and professors at Harvard University and Princeton University.
"We are thrilled about this exciting new phase for CCRC and its partners, and gratified that it will allow us to continue to build on the work we have done so far," Bailey said. "It is particularly noteworthy that the U.S. Department of Education has established a national research center on higher education with a very strong focus on community colleges. In the past, the large majority of research on higher education has focused on four-year institutions."
In addition to Bailey, current CCRC researchers will participate in the work of the new center, along with additional researchers and staff from MDRC and the Curry School of Education. Professors from Harvard and Princeton will act as expert consultants. MDRC Director, Thomas Brock, noted that since weak academic preparation impedes access to, achievement in, and often completion of higher education for millions of young people, "this grant will give the Center the opportunity to do the research that will help us say with more certainty what works and what doesn't."
The center will focus its work on the efforts of two- and four-year institutions to improve access to higher education and the rates at which students earn a degree. Studies will investigate the effectiveness of dual enrollment programs and learning communities in preparing low-skill students for success in college.
Other anticipated projects include evaluating financial aid policies and state incentives or sanctions to promote the success of low-skill students. "Given the millions of students who currently qualify as low-skill or low-income, the implications for these studies have far-reaching social and political impacts," Bailey said.