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Independent colleges launch 2020 graduation push

Two organizations of independent colleges unveiled a new Web site Thursday that brings together hundreds of existing or proposed initiatives at member colleges toward meeting President Obama's goal of regaining the lead in college completion by 2020.

Building Blocks to 2020 is a joint effort of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council of Independent Colleges to highlight and encourage programs that increase enrollment of at-risk students or boost retention and graduation rates.

At present, the site lists 535 existing or proposed programs at 250 colleges. David Warren, president of NAICU, said independent colleges will be key to meeting the completion goal, as they enroll 19 percent of students and award 26 percent of degrees.

Here are some local programs listed on the Web site:

First-year Experience, Trinity Washington University (D.C.): A "highly structured program to help students develop skills for academic success. Senior faculty serve as academic advisors for students through their collegiate career. Trinity has also restructured residence life so that first year students have a more focused living/learning experience."

Early Intervention Program, Washington College (Md.): "[T]o identify students who appear to be at risk for academic failure or withdrawal, the Early Intervention Program staff solicits input about students in need from faculty, coaches, residence life personnel, and other staff. Once a student has been identified as a candidate for participation in the program, staff develop a plan for outreach and intervention, and appoint a point person to manage the intervention."

Expanding Your Horizons, Lynchburg College (Va.): "[D]esigned to strengthen existing services for first-generation students -- especially in their first and second years on campus. First-year first-generation students will participate in a two-day retreat, enroll in two courses with motivational strategies, and will have a peer mentor. In the sophomore year, they will have a range of experiential learning opportunities."

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By Daniel de Vise  | September 24, 2010; 2:44 PM ET
Categories:  Access, Admissions, Attainment, Privates, Students  | Tags:  Building Blocks to 2020, CIC, NAICU, Obama graduation initiative, college completion initiative  
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