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Great Lakes Awards $1.5 Million to CCRC to Support Guided Pathways Reform in Ohio

Statewide Effort of All 23 Community Colleges Will Improve and Accelerate Student Completion

—According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, only 39 percent of community college students complete a degree or certificate within six years. There are many initiatives currently underway to improve that number, and one of the most promising is guided pathways.

Designed to give students a more direct route to graduation, guided pathways outlines course sequences, progress milestones, and the skills and knowledge students need for program completion. Accompanied by proactive advising to help students select and stay on a path, guided pathways has the potential to significantly boost graduation rates.

With a $1.5 million grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, the Community College Research Center (CCRC) will partner with the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC) and the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) to expand guided pathways to all 23 community and technical colleges in Ohio. CCRC will provide applied research and technical assistance to aid the colleges in restructuring their programs and support services to help more of their combined 275,000 degree-seeking students graduate — and graduate faster.

"Guided pathways brings together many pieces of community college reform into a comprehensive framework that helps colleges create clearer paths to learning and success for their students," said Thomas Bailey, Director of CCRC. "We are looking forward to this work in Ohio because some of the state's community colleges have been on the vanguard nationally in developing and implementing guided pathways reforms. Now OACC, with support from ODHE, is spearheading an effort to implement these reforms statewide. We have much to learn from this ambitious effort."

During the two-year grant period, CCRC will document progress on implementation, identify effective change management strategies, measure impact and advise on state policy. Additionally, they will produce and disseminate practitioner guidance and tools for use in Ohio — and other states where colleges are implementing guided pathways.

"Guided pathways seems to be effective in helping community colleges complete their programs more efficiently and affordably," said Richard D. George, President and Chief Executive Officer of Great Lakes. "While it can take more than five years for colleges to fully adopt guided pathways, we recognize the urgent need to share knowledge in the short term to strengthen this work in Ohio and nationwide. We are eager to learn promising practices for accelerating student success and improving graduation rates."

To learn more about guided pathways, visit

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