Teachers College, Columbia University

Federal Grant of $9,813,619 Awarded to CCRC and Partners to Establish New Postsecondary Research Center

NEW YORK, NY (July 11, 2006) — The Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College, Columbia University, in collaboration with partners at MDRC, the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia (UVA), and professors at Harvard University, and Princeton University, has been awarded a five-year grant of $9,813,619 from the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education for a new center focused on studying the effects of programs designed to help students make the transition to college and master basic skills needed to advance to a degree.

The National Center for Postsecondary Research (NCPR) will evaluate programs employed by two- and four-year institutions to reduce postsecondary education barriers and increase college completion rates. “We are thrilled about this exciting new phase for CCRC and its partners, and gratified that it will allow us to continue to build on the work we have done so far. It is particularly noteworthy that the U.S. Department of Education has established a national research center on higher education with a very strong focus on community colleges. In the past, the large majority of research on higher education has focused on four-year institutions,” said Dr. Thomas Bailey, Director of CCRC, who will also serve as Director of the National Research Center.

For millions of young people, weak academic preparation impedes access to, achievement in, and/or completion of higher education. Dr. Thomas Brock, MDRC Director of Young Adults and Postsecondary Education, said the grant would allow researchers to focus on this critical area in which too little rigorous research currently exists. “There is a gap in what we know and don’t know about the policies and programs that postsecondary institutions are implementing to improve student access and success in higher education,” said Dr. Brock. “This grant will give the Center the opportunity to do the research that will help us say with more certainty what works and what doesn’t.”

CCRC and its partners will use the grant to evaluate the effectiveness of two programs: (1) those that enroll high school students in college courses (dual enrollment programs); and (2) those that provide remediation groups or learning communities for low-skill students. Both evaluations will last over four years. The Center will also evaluate financial aid policies and state incentives or sanctions to promote low-income, low-skilled students. Plans for other projects will be developed in close collaboration with the staff of the Institute for Education Sciences. “Given the millions of students who currently qualify as low-skill or low-income, the implications for these studies have far-reaching social and political impacts,” said Dr. Bailey.

To learn more about the National Center for Postsecondary Research (NCPR), visit http://www.postsecondaryresearch.org