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Press Release

Thursday, August 15, 2013

DOE Press Office

Florida Colleges Help Former Students Cross Finish Line

~ Florida College System celebrates successes from national grant-funded initiative to increase degree completion ~

Tallahassee, Fla., August 15, 2013 - Thanks to a national effort to increase associate degree completion, three Florida College System (FCS) institutions have graduated an additional 1,500 students and re-enrolled nearly 850 former students. Project Win-Win was an effort by Broward College, Indian River State College and St. Johns River State College to identify former students who left without completing a degree and award the degrees retroactively. Students who were just short of earning degrees were encouraged to re-enroll and complete.

"The Florida College System is honored to be a part of this national effort to boost college completion rates," said FCS Chancellor Randy Hanna. "All of our students should be afforded opportunities to complete their degrees. Project Win-Win has allowed our colleges to reach thousands of students and help them attain degrees."

Cliff Adelman, a senior associate with the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), said, "This initiative really is a win-win: students win because they earn a degree that pays long-term dividends and colleges win because of improved graduation rates and student success."

In fall 2010, Florida received $160,000 to pilot the project in three colleges. Primarily funded by the Lumina Foundation for Education, IHEP and the State Higher Education Executive Officers provided support and evaluation for Project Win-Win.

Each college received a list of students who stopped out or dropped out before earning degrees. Colleges first retroactively awarded qualified students associate degrees to those who, for whatever reason, never received one. Then colleges identified students who were just short of earning degrees and encouraged them to re-enroll. Of the nearly 8,000 students in the initial pool, roughly 850 re-enrolled and 1,500 were awarded degrees.

Project Win-Win complements the efforts of Finish Up, Florida!, a system-wide campaign to bring back students who left college before earning their degrees, and Credit When It's Due, a national initiative to help students complete their associate degree using credits from multiple institutions after transferring to a state university.

While the FCS pilot phase of Project Win-Win is complete, Chancellor Hanna has high hopes for its future: "Project Win-Win's success at three colleges shows the value in reaching out to students who left before earning degrees." he added. "This project complements existing efforts to promote degree completion and provide students with meaningful credentials to help them get high-skill, high-wage jobs."

For more information, visit the Florida College System Foundation.