Finding Qualified Students

There are seven distinct procedural scenarios reflected in the plans and commitments of participating institutions.  Project Win-Win calls its default model the “Full Cycle,” which is being pursued by a majority of the 35 institutions.  The other scenarios are products of either local institutional design or variations on procedures followed by institutions in the pilot phase of Project Win-Win.  All of these employ elements of the Full Cycle.


1) Full-Cycle.  The basic scenario for all participating institutions is involves seven steps:


  1. (1) Identifying students in their data systems who had entered the institutions at any time after 2001, earned at least 60 credits and the minimum grade point average required for graduation, but who never received the associate’s degree and had not been enrolled at the institution for at least a year;
  3. (2) Matching that initial list against state system records to determine who is either currently enrolled elsewhere in the state or earned a degree from another state institution, and removing them from the population under consideration;
  5. (3) Taking the reduced list after step 2 and sending it to the National Student Clearinghouse to determine if anyone on the list is currently enrolled in another state or received a degree in another state, and removing them from the group under consideration;
  7. (4) Taking the residual list of students after step 3, and subjecting each student to a “degree audit” to reach a final determination on degree eligibility;
  9. (5) For all degree “eligibles,” determine whether there are any administrative “holds” on degrees and resolve as many of these as possible;
  11. (6) For all those for whom the degree audit determined “academic shortfall” by nine or fewer credits, find these “potential” degree earners, and
  13. (7) Contact as many of #6 as can be found with templates for finishing degrees that include formal class work, credit-by-examination, and/or development and review of a dossier that documents and validates experiential learning.


This process takes two years to complete, with the largest portions of time spent on degree audits and locating the potential degree-completers.


2) Full-Cycle Interstate.  Project Win-Win was fortunate when the Missouri Department of Higher Education recruited two large community college districts—St. Louis and Metropolitan (Kansas City, Mo.)—whose students often flow back and forth across state lines (Illinois and Kansas, respectively), earning credits from schools on both sides of the state line.  This scenario presents distinct challenges in matching data from more than one state system.


3) Feeder.  In this case, the community college initiates a follow-up of students who transferred to a specific four-year college, one for which the community college is a high-volume “feeder.”

Both Monroe Community College and Suffolk Community College in New York (participants in the pilot project) are following this process with the State University of New York at Brockport and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, respectively.  Based on analysis of combined records at the feeder community college and the specific institution “fed,” the two community colleges will seek to award associate’s degrees to those either still enrolled or no longer enrolled (and without any degree).


4) Reverse Feeder.  This case is a mirror image of the process in which Monroe and Suffolk community colleges are the instigators.  Here, the four-year college, the University of Louisiana/Lafayette, identifies students from a specific feeder community college (Southern Louisiana Community College) who, by its analysis, have met requirements for an associate’s degree, and negotiates with the community college to get those students credentialed.  This process is appropriate—and replicable—to four-year colleges that do not themselves award associate’s degrees.


5) Resident Four-year.  This model applies to any four-year college authorized to award associate’s degrees itself, and without negotiation with its feeder community colleges.  The institution looks at all its currently resident students in terms of associate’s degree eligibility, and moves through the seven steps of the Full Cycle with that group.  The three participating Louisiana universities in the pilot phase of the program fall in this group, as do the two technical colleges in the State University of New York system (Alfred and Cobbleskill).


6) Branch Campus Cycle.  This scenario is unique to those state universities with associate’s degree-granting branch campuses, and in which students sometimes attend both the “home” university and a branch campus.  For the Project Win-Win expansion, the case will be illustrated by three branch campuses of Kent State University (Ohio): Stark, Trumbull, and Tuscarawas.


7) Four-Year Resident, Retroactive.  This approach in Wisconsin is modeled on that originally developed by the University of Wisconsin/Oshkosh.  It focuses on four-year college students who left the institution in good academic standing, never earned any degree, and who are no longer enrolled anywhere.  It seeks to confer associate’s degrees on these “drop-outs,” retroactively.  Current resident students are not at issue.