What is Completion Counts?
Completion Counts is Riverside's partnership working to raise college graduation rates. The citywide initiative is driven by the City of Riverside, Riverside City College, Alvord Unified School District, Riverside Unified School District, Riverside County Office of Education, UC Riverside, and the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce to make a college degree an attainable goal for every Riverside student.
What public commitment does Completion Counts make?
Through Completion Counts, the City of Riverside, Riverside City College, Alvord Unified School District, Riverside Unified School District, Riverside County Office of Education, UC Riverside, and the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce work seamlessly to raise the number of local students who enroll and graduate from college by 2020.
What is the percentage of Riverside students who enroll and complete a degree and Completion Counts’ vision for 2020?
Our Goal for 2020
90% Graduate High School (Compared to 79% today)
62% Enroll in College (Compared to 42%)
42% Graduate 2-Year College (Compared to 14%)
72% Graduate 4-Year University (Compared to 66%)
How is Completion Counts raising college graduation rates?
The driving force behind Completion Counts is a collective partnership of Riverside teachers, guidance counselors, high school and college administrators, college instructors, civic and business leaders. Their collective efforts are coordinated and streamlined through Completion Counts to provide local students with the following:
• Guaranteed access to college: Completion Counts is now offering the RCC two-year completion guarantee starting with eligible 2012 graduates of Riverside’s two school districts. It provides priority class registration and academic guidance so that local students earn an associate’s degree or transfer to a four-year university within two years.
• Better academic preparation: Completion Counts is making it possible for high school math and English teachers to join forces with college professors. They are working together to improve curriculum and lesson plans to help students get ready for college-level work.
• Better college guidance: Completion Counts is making it possible for high school guidance counselors to work with student advisors at the college level to decide on the best ways to groom students for college. That means students are receiving the most accurate and up-to-date information about college-prep classes, college admissions, and financial aid requirements.
• Enhanced community commitment: Completion Counts is leading a public awareness campaign to foster a citywide college-minded culture where college graduation is the educational standard for all youth. That includes working with the business community to support local and statewide measures that promote workforce development and quality education.
What is the RCC two-year completion guarantee?
Through Completion Counts, Riverside City College is now providing a two-year completion guarantee for qualifying graduates of Alvord and Riverside Unified School Districts starting with the Class of 2012. It provides local students priority class registration at RCC and a guaranteed seat in classes to help them earn their associates degree, or transfer to a four-year university, within two years of enrolling. The guarantee also ensures that students will meet with an RCC counselor to create a two-year education plan, and receive frequent guidance on classes needed to reach the student’s educational goals.
To participate, students must meet certain criteria including: score high in a college-entrance English and math test, complete the 2012-13 Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), attend school full-time and maintain a 2.0 GPA at RCC. The guarantee does not apply at the Moreno Valley or Norco colleges.
Is Completion Counts simply about increasing enrollments at RCC?
For those students who attend RCC, Completion Counts is committed to see them complete their degree in a timely manner. However, Completion Counts is about more than access and success at RCC. The initiative is about improving academic preparation so that students succeed at any college or university and compete for 21st century jobs.
Completion Counts emphasizes expanding access to higher education because the city, the region and the state need more students to successfully attain a college degree in order to remain competitive in the global economy.
How can RCC guarantee classes during the current state fiscal crisis?
Because of the current state fiscal crisis, community colleges across California are making much-needed changes to address the specific needs of their community, while still making higher education accessible to everyone. Through Completion Counts, RCC is now focusing its efforts to give priority to local incoming students, whom are overwhelmingly first-generation college students, and the opportunity to earn a college degree.
Far too many students take general interest college courses for four or five years that do not lead to a degree. Those students may accumulate more than 100 units when only 60 are needed for an associate’s degree. As a result, students with a high number of units place higher in the class registration queue, causing incoming first-generation college students to compete with “professional students” for classes.
Completion Counts is addressing those barriers by giving eligible local students priority class registration at RCC so they can get the classes they need to transfer or graduate within two years.
How is Completion Counts reaching out to families and students?
Completion Counts seeks to align existing communications and outreach efforts in a way that better serves families and students. It provides a centralized hub information about college, careers, and financial aid through its website www.College311.org. The website is maintained by guidance and career counselors at RCC, AUSD, and RUSD. Efforts are underway to also make the information available in Spanish.
Completion Counts also has a dedicated staff who operates the Completion Counts Welcome Center housed at RCC. They assist students and families from across Riverside with career exploration, college applications, and financial aid forms. Completion Counts is also partnering with community organizations and faith-based groups to provide them with resources and information about getting a college degree.
How can the work of Completion Counts continue during the current state fiscal crisis?
Completion Counts brings together activities and streamlines efforts that already exist and will more than likely continue in some form, despite cutbacks. It serves as a vehicle to coordinate between the city, schools, colleges, and business community, which in turn will help the institutions operate more efficiently.
When did Completion Counts begin?
Riverside has a longstanding history of partnerships across its municipal, educational, business, workforce, social service, and community organizations. Its commitment to educational excellence was renewed in 2010 through the City of Riverside’s 20-year economic and quality of life strategy “Seizing Our Destiny: The Agenda for Riverside’s Innovative Future.” The partnership was then formalized and Completion Counts was born with support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, National League of Cities, and the James Irvine Foundation.
Why is it called Completion Counts?
Completion Counts underscores Riverside’s commitment to create a seamless partnership that prepares students for college so they can complete a degree. It is also a message for students to complete their homework, financial aid forms, college applications, and most importantly, their education goal for a successful and fulfilling life.
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