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Inland Empire Joins Complete College America Alliance, Strengthening Region’s Focus on College Completion

Consortium representing 200,000 California students launches new effort to significantly boost college completion rates and close achievement gaps

San Bernardino, CA – National nonprofit Complete College America (CCA) announced today the launch of Complete College Inland Empire as the 45th member of the CCA Alliance. The new effort is focused on boosting completion rates and closing achievement gaps for the approximately 200,000 students in the region’s two public universities and 12 community colleges.

The Inland Empire (IE), comprising San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, is plagued with poor student outcomes. For every 1,000 high school freshmen in the IE, only 151 will complete a bachelor’s degree at a California public university compared to 225 high school freshmen statewide. Furthermore, less than 30 percent of adults in the two-county area have an associate degree or higher, compared to 38 to 48 percent of adults in adjacent Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

In response to these statistics, leaders of the IE sought and received a $5 million Governor’s 2015 Innovation Award in Higher Education to establish Growing Inland Achievement (GIA), a collective impact organization dedicated to improving the long-term economic outlook of the IE by building and supporting a cross-sector collaborative that aligns educational policy and initiatives regionally to create a well-educated workforce, thriving communities, and a vibrant economy through improving educational attainment rates.

As a new member of the CCA Alliance, Complete College Inland Empire has committed to setting college attainment goals, collecting and reporting the Common College Completion Metrics, and pursuing the organization’s Game Changer strategies – interventions such as Corequisite Support, Math Pathways, and Guided Pathways that are proven to dramatically increase college completion rates and close attainment gaps for large numbers of students across the involved institutions.

“Leaders in the Inland Empire recognize that increasing achievement of college degrees or credentials of value is the key to improving economic strength and overall quality of life within a community. We are excited to welcome them into the Alliance of like-minded leaders taking bold action to improve outcomes,” said CCA Senior Vice President Sarah Ancel.

Participating institutions include GIA’s founding members: California State University, San Bernardino; University of California, Riverside; Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP); OneFuture Coachella Valley (OFCV); Riverside Community College District; Chaffey College; and the San Bernardino and Riverside County School Superintendents, as well as additional leaders from businesses, community-based organizations and non-profits, and government.

“Joining the Complete College America Alliance is a well-timed opportunity for California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) as we shift our responsibilities as educators from college admissions to college completion,” said Dr. Craig R. Seal, Dean of Undergraduate Studies at California State University, San Bernardino. “With the California State University system Graduation Initiative (GI) 2025, we can leverage the best-practices of CCA to support our 15 to Finish campaigns, develop Math Pathways, and build momentum for our students.”

Complete College Inland Empire will be led by a nine-person Alliance Team that includes representatives focused on the pillars of Equity, Metrics and Evidence, Policy, Communications, and Implementation:

  • Ann Marie Allen, Senior Director of Growing Inland Achievement – Team Lead and Communication Lead
  • Meridith Randall, Associate Superintendent, Instruction & Institutional Effectiveness, Chaffey College and Rebecca Warren-Marlatt, Vice President of Student Service, Crafton Hills College – Two-Year Implementation Leads
  • Craig Seal, Dean of Undergraduate Students, California State, San Bernardino and Tom Smith, Interim Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, University of California, Riverside – Four-Year Implementation Leads
  • Beth Higbee, Assistant Superintendent of Education Support Services, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and Cynthia Glover Woods, Chief Academic Officer, Riverside County Office of Education – Equity Leads
  • Sorrel Stielstra, Director of Research, Growing Inland Achievement – Metrics, Evidence, Results Lead
  • Jason Cordova, Director, Education & Workforce Development, Inland Empire Economic Partnership – Policy and Legislation Lead

Complete College Inland Empire is the second consortium in California to join the CCA Alliance. The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium (CVHEC) joined the Alliance in 2015.

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