This summer, the two of us had the opportunity to be interns with Complete College America (CCA), gaining valuable experience writing articles, creating social-media content, assisting with the CCA Live virtual series, and learning from the CCA Staff, CCA Board, and their networks.

Despite the uncertainty created by the coronavirus, we’re both excited to begin our senior year as journalism majors, taking new courses like Backpack Video Journalism and Advanced Reporting that will bolster our grad-school applications or give us the experience we need to land new jobs after graduation. And we’re still excited to start a normal-ish semester on campus.   

But, don’t let our excitement confuse you. We’re apprehensive and anxious about our return to campus for the fall semester, wondering: How safe is it to be on campus with a large number of people consolidated into relatively small areas? How will our classroom time be affected. Will we even be allowed into a classroom? How will we keep proper social-distancing requirements between our classmates?  

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Students and Higher-Ed Leaders Discuss School Reopenings
In July, 200 people joined the CCA Live session “Amplifying Student Voices: A Dialogue between Students and Higher-Ed Leaders.” If you’d like to hear CCA’s student interns and a panel of higher education leaders discuss the anxiety, expectations, and opportunities facing students and educators in the coming months, set aside some time to listen to the archived version of the conversation. You can check out past and future offerings from CCA live here and read more below. 



CCA has always considered data and policy two of the most critical factors in identifying and eliminating equity gaps to increase college completion. So we’re excited to announce the hiring of Charles Ansell as VP of Research, Policy, and Advocacy. Ansell will lead the development and execution of CCA’s strategic research agenda, including scaled adoption of the Postsecondary Data Partnership, which helps states and institutions use data to design more effective programs. 

"The present moment of pandemic and protest demands thought leadership coupled with personal fury for justice and equity," Ansell said. "Since my early engagement with CCA, I was always impressed that they utilized data to drive substantive national change and I am thrilled to be part of the crucial progress that the organization will drive in the months and years ahead."

Learn more about Ansell and his new appointment.

Oklahoma Debuts ShowWhatYouKnow Website to Facilitate Credit for Prior Learning
In an effort to encourage students to return to college and increase the odds of completing their degrees, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recently launched a new website,, targeting students who would like to earn college credit for work and life experiences.

“Oklahoma continues to be a leader in engaging students to return to college to complete their higher education degrees,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “This new website provides options for any person looking for the opportunity to turn prior learning into college credit, including those with industry experience, students who took AP courses in high school, those who have completed training at an Oklahoma career technology center, and members or former members of the armed services.” 
The site also connects users to comprehensive information about financial resources, Reach Higher (the State Regents’ degree completion initiative for adult learners), and information on the state’s labor-market data and jobs connected to different degrees.

If you’re looking for more guidance on tactics to increase college completion, contact your regional strategy director. We’re proud to say that participation in CCA played a big role in the University System of Georgia Reporting a Record Increase in Degrees Awarded, and we can do the same for your state’s institutions.

In response to the global pandemic, we created CCA Live to start critical conversations and to share timely content with our Alliance members. In just a few weeks, the digital platform has featured more than half a dozen offerings, and there are even more events to come. Here are a few of our favorite conversations, archived so you can watch whenever you like…

In this Candid Conversation between CCA President Yolanda Watson Spiva, PhD, and Charlie Nutt, EdD, Executive Director of NACADA, the two discuss the increasingly critical role of academic advisors, and how that role continues to impact the college completion agenda.
What Does This Mean for Our Status?: Accreditation as a Catalyst & Lever for College Completion includes panelists from SACSCOC, NWCCU, and HLC. In this one-hour conversation, you’ll learn what overarching issues accreditation agencies are grappling with and what opportunities exist amidst COVID-19 and continued demands for racial equity and justice. 

In yet another Candid Conversation, CCA President Yolanda Watson Spiva, PhD, and Deborah Santiago, CEO and cofounder of Excelencia, discuss minority-led nonprofits and the long-term impact for student success and equity in higher education.


CCA Week: October 26-30
This year’s Annual Convening has evolved to become CCA Week, a variety of strategy sessions to be held October 26-30. CCA’s annual gathering has always been the place where we unveil big ideas—and although this year’s programming is moving to a virtual space, there will be no shortage of big ideas and meaningful conversations. The agenda is still falling into place, but there are a few things we can promise: We’ll reveal the next evolution of our “Game Changer” strategies, we’ll share a new approach to data collection that generates findings that you can act on, and we’ll devote plenty of time to Alliance member breakout sessions, state by state. In the next few weeks, we’ll reveal more details via email; on our website; and across Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.



  A new report from The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) reveals that more than half of four-year colleges and universities will be test-optional for Fall 2021 admissions. CCA’s Brandon Protas, Ed.D. sees this as an opportunity for institutions to question historical practices that have served as a long-standing barrier to equity: “The reimagining of our colleges and universities should move beyond a temporary response to crisis to inform a path of deep and sustainable change to best serve students,” he writes. “The use of multiple measures for admissions and placement is a prime example of how improving institutional systems can have a profound impact on student success.” Read the entire piece on CCA’s website. 

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