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GC President chairs Community College Taskforce focused on reform

The Community College Metrics Taskforce, as part of the Texas Association of Community Colleges and chaired by Grayson College President Jeremy McMillen, has worked in collaboration with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to release the Investing in Student Success report. The report examines Texas’s Success Point community college funding model and provides recommendations for better aligning funding with student needs and college performance.

“We started with a close look at the data to identify areas where funding isn’t supporting best practices,” says Dr. Jeremy McMillen, President of Grayson College and Chair of the Taskforce. “We’ve learned so much about how to help students overcome barriers, succeed academically, and connect with workforce opportunities. It’s time to invest in those strategies, and these recommendations make important steps in that direction.”

The Success Point model rewards community colleges when their students achieve certain academic progression milestones, each of which carries a weight. The biennial budget for FYs 2020-2021 included two key changes to Success Point milestones and suggested future modifications to the weights. The Community College Metrics Taskforce met from August to December 2019 to examine the suggested changes in House Bill 1, develop recommendations, and produce a final report.

The Taskforce found:

  • Dual credit courses effectively increase college enrollment and success rates, but existing policies do not adequately fund dual credit or incentivize colleges to create and deliver longer sequences of dual credit coursework
  • Academically and economically disadvantaged students are a growing majority of community college students, but the Success Point model does not reflect the additional barriers they must overcome to achieve transfer or completion metrics
  • The critical fields designation process is out-of-date and lacks much-needed transparency and predictability, and the fields do not align well with Texas’ workforce needs

“Texas community colleges are avid supporters of performance-based funding. This report provides a thorough review of all relevant metrics for measuring students’ academic progression and lays the groundwork for the next decade of community college success,” says Dr. Brenda Hellyer, Chancellor of San Jacinto College. “The report is intended to inform policy leaders and higher education stakeholders. The recommendations will be a major part of TACC’s funding recommendations for the biennial budget for FYs 2022-23.”