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League for Innovation in the Community College Announces New Learning First Project

June 19, 2012, Phoenix, Arizona: Learning First
A National Consortium of Leading Online Universities and Coastline Community College

The League for Innovation in the Community College has been awarded $450,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support and pilot a national consortium of leading community colleges and online universities to support underserved and low-income adults in attaining a postsecondary credential—in less time and at lower cost—without leaving their home community.

Learning First is a collaborative effort involving the University of Massachusetts Online (UMassOnline), Pennsylvania State University (Penn State World Campus), the University of Illinois-Springfield (UIS), and Coastline Community College. Learning First participants will form a consortium to increase Coastline Community College’s capacity to serve students following a unique 1-2-1 partner articulation and concurrent enrollment model. This model will decrease the amount of time and cost required for students to earn a bachelor’s degree. Learning First’s priority will be low-income young adults seeking opportunities to earn associate and bachelor’s degrees from respected public institutions of higher education through online learning options. With its demonstrated successes, Learning First could stand as a model for serving tens of thousands of students at community colleges across California—and across the country—offering more successful college degree completion pathways, cost-effective online educational articulation options, and meeting the nation’s need for stronger workforce development.

As part of the Phase One Planning Processes, the Learning First Partners will convene and prioritize their collaborative strengths focused on:

  1. Decreasing the Coastline Community College wait list by 50%, thus serving approximately 10,000 additional students than is currently possible.
  2. Following the Coastline Community College Military/Contract/Corporate education model, as a sustainable, online, anytime/anyplace model for working students to increase bachelor’s degree completion rates of Learning First students by 20% in 18 months through online university partner options.
  3. Providing degree completion through the Learning First 1-2-1 concurrent enrollment program and consistently reducing the cost of baccalaureate degree attainment to 30 -40% below for-profit university costs.

Learning First dramatically increases the number of low-income young adults who complete their postsecondary education, setting them up for success in the workplace and in life. The project is scheduled to occur in two distinct phases. In Phase One (Planning),  Learning First partners will identify a series of articulation models customized to distinct online university expertise, formalize the 1-2-1 concurrent enrollment course model and transfer terms, and draft the Learning First partner articulation/degree agreements. In Phase Two (Pilot), Learning First partners will initiate the project with dual enrolled Coastline Community College students and online university partners in courses and programs, with student updates and progress reports shared on a monthly basis. Cost to degree completion will be reviewed as students transition through the program model and transfer course credits, and cost-containment models will be evaluated to support strong value propositions for students and partners. External evaluation will be reviewed and analyzed on a quarterly basis by consultant and Learning First partner leadership.

Click here for more information about the Gates Foundation supporting postsecondary education.

Contact: Stella Perez
League for Innovation in the Community College
(480) 705-8200 ext. 243
perez@league.org

Posted by The League for Innovation in the Community College on 06/19/2012 at 9:24 AM | Categories: Press Release -