Accelerating Recovery in Community Colleges Network

September 2022–August 2025

The Accelerating Recovery in Community Colleges Network, or ARCC Network, is studying strategies that community colleges are using to combat enrollment drops, learning loss, and other negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the three years of the project, the network will work closely with community colleges and college systems to identify and evaluate programs and policies designed to bring students back to college and accelerate their academic progress.

CCRC is partnering with the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center and Wheelhouse: The Center for Community College Leadership and Research at the University of California, Davis to lead the network and conduct national research on enrollment and transfer trends, pandemic recovery strategies, and unmet needs. The network, which is funded by the Institute of Education Sciences at the Department of Education, also includes three independent research teams investigating recovery efforts such as enhanced financial aid, innovative workforce programs, improved online and hybrid education, and new course formats in California and Virginia. Additional projects from the Institute of Education Sciences’ education research grants program may be added to the network.

The network lead will coordinate the independent research teams so the research has the broadest possible benefit for community colleges and their students.

As part of the network lead team, the Clearinghouse will issue two annual reports, with subgroup trends, on student enrollment and transfer. The network lead team will also analyze how community colleges spent the Higher Education Emergency Relief funds appropriated by Congress in several COVID relief packages. And it will conduct a survey of community colleges in six states—California, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas—to gain deeper insight into the specific pandemic recovery initiatives they have put in place, the student groups who have been targeted, and the issues that still need to be addressed.

The network will focus on the groups most affected by the pandemic at community colleges, including students of color, low-income students, first-generation students, and adult students.
The research projects in the network are:

Evidence to Inform Improvement: Supporting California Community Colleges in Pandemic Recovery, led by researchers from Wheelhouse: The Center for Community College Leadership and Research, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, and the Public Policy Institute of California.

Leveraging Technology and Engaging Students: Evaluating COVID-19 Recovery Efforts in the Los Angeles Community College District, led by researchers at Harvard University, the University of Southern California, the Los Angeles Community College District, and Los Angeles Community College.

Virginia Workforce Recovery: A Research Partnership to Strengthen G3, led by researchers at CCRC, the Virginia Community College System, and the University of Pennsylvania.

This project is supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305X220022 to Teachers College, Columbia University.

Project Lead

Thomas Brock