Strong Start to Finish is a network of like-minded individuals and organizations from the policy, research, and practice spaces who come together to help all students, not just the select few, find success in postsecondary education. The network is supported by the Education Commission of the States. A focal point for the network is the redesigning and reforming of developmental education.
In late 2019, Strong Start to Finish offered an opportunity to states or systems to apply for a one-year, Strategy Site Grant. An application developed collaboratively by the Oregon Community College Association (OCCA) and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) Office of Community Colleges and Workforce Development (CCWD), to develop corequisite courses in Mathematics in community colleges and public universities was submitted in January 2020. In June, OCCA was notified that Oregon was selected as one of seven Strategy Site Grant recipients and would receive $299,575 for work to be completed from August 2020-September 2021.
The grant has two phases: a design phase and subsequent implementation phase. The design phase held a virtual launch meeting in September 2020 with over 100 participants from community colleges and universities. A design team, comprised of a Math faculty representatives from the 16 community colleges and 4 public universities, held its first meeting in October 2020 and met throughout that fall to design corequisite courses for Math 105, Math 111, and Math 243. Stipends of $1500 have been allocated for each participating institution to assist with faculty time spent working on the grant.
Corequisites are an alternative to traditional remedial education shown to put students on a path toward graduation by helping them complete college math requirements more quickly and with less debt. Instead of taking remedial prerequisites, students enroll directly into college credit-earning math classes, while also taking a corequisite course to fill in any gaps. Technical assistance for the meetings has been provided by Complete College America (CCA). The group had its final meeting in December 2020.
The next phase of the work is for seven institutions to implement proof of concept course sections for the corequisites in fall 2021. The RFP for subgrants to support the implementation work was due December 14, 2020. Selected colleges will be notified in mid-January 2021 and will each receive $10,000 grants to assist with their implementation work over the winter and spring terms of 2021. CCA will continue to provide technical assistance to the selected institutions during the implementation phase of the grant. The grant ends September 30, 2021.