Equity in Practice Spotlight: “Complete to Compete Strategy” at Elgin Community College
Briefly describe a strategy in your Equity Plan that you have implemented. Include a brief description of how this strategy was chosen.
Elgin Community College (ECC) wanted to help "near completer" students for whom predicative analytics showed were in danger of not completing their degrees, despite significant progress. The top reason students were dropping out after earning significant credit hours was due to financial obligations. The Complete to Compete scholarship was created to provide financial support to students above and beyond any funds that they already receive through federal, state, and/or institutional financial aid in order to encourage students to enroll in more credit hours than they otherwise would have been able to without the additional funding and to set a goal of completing their degree by the end of the current academic year. This strategy was chosen because it was poised to implement quickly, was directly related to completion, and tied to financial need.
Articulate the intended outcomes, leading indicators and KPIs.
The intended outcome was for "near completer" students to persist or reenroll and complete their degree/transfer within one year. Enrollment, credit accumulation, academic performance, and completion rates were tracked. We wanted to show demonstrable improvements attributable to this intervention so a comparison group of like students, who did not receive the scholarship, was also tracked.
Over the course of the 2020-2021 academic year, the students receiving the Complete to Compete scholarship enrolled in approximately the same number of total credit hours, on average, as the comparison group (16.7 hours versus 16.1, respectively), but had a higher completion ratio (90% versus 79%, respectively) and, thus, a greater number of earned credit hours (15.0 versus 12.6, respectively), and, ultimately, a much greater proportion of students graduating with their Associate's degree by the end of the year (73% of scholarship students, compared to 47% of comparison group, but the initial metric was to complete within the 2020-2021 academic year).
The key stakeholders were ECC's Institutional Advancement and Student Services offices; the College's active Foundation Board; the Institutional Advancement executive director; and Institutional Research managing director.
As part of the process of generating the applicant pool for eligible students, the ECC Institutional Research office generated a statistical predictive model based on each student's demographic profile, past academic performance and socio-economic status. This model created a "predicted likelihood of graduating within 1 year" score for each student in the applicant pool. This score was then used as one component of the applicant scoring process to determine awardees. For this particular scoring category, students with lower predicted likelihood of graduating scores are given greater preference in the scholarship application scoring. The reasoning behind this is that preference for the award, in alignment with the wishes of the ECC Foundation Board, would go to students who would theoretically be helped the most by the additional funding.
For more information on this strategy at Elgin Community College, contact: