Honing In

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Through the Vision Project, Massachusetts’ public colleges and universities have been working to improve college completion rates and other performance outcomes with the goal of producing “the best-educated citizenry and workforce in the nation.” With this report, the Department shifts attention to three of the seven areas of the Vision Project, each central to the goal of reducing or eliminating the Degree Gap.

“While the Vision Project remains the Board-approved agenda for higher education, I believe we need to ‘hone in’ on these three priorities and also include more direct emphasis on affordability,” said Commissioner Carlos E. Santiago. “Workforce alignment runs as an undercurrent though this more tightly focused agenda, the goal of which is to improve our rates of degree completion. Students, and the employers who are waiting to hire them, are counting on us to achieve faster, more far-reaching results.”

“Drilling down on these three priorities will be essential if we are to hasten the pace of progress,” said Board of Higher Education Chairman Chris Gabrieli. “Campuses are going to need to work more closely in regional partnerships and find creative, meaningful ways to bring best practices to scale if we are to realize system-level progress.”

The "Big Three" Degree Plan

Key outcome area 1: College Participation

Improve College Access & Affordability

  • Expand dual enrollment and STEM early college opportunities
  • Promote “knowledge about college” through high school partnerships, events
  • Create more affordable pathways to—and through—college
Key outcome area 6: Closing Achievement Gaps

Close Achievement Gaps

  • Increase support to and expand opportunities for low-income male students and male students of color who are at risk of not entering or finishing college
Key outcome area 2: College Completion

Raise College Completion Rates

  • Overhaul developmental (remedial) education programs
  • Expand use of retention software and student support/advising
  • Map seamless, statewide transfer pathways from two-year colleges to four-year universities