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2020 Vision For Student SuccessCommunity college leaders from across California recently established a bold goal of increasing the number of students earning a degree or certificate by one million by 2020.

The goal, which also calls for the elimination of the achievement gap for black and Latino students, is included in a new report A 2020 Vision for Student Success, released by the Community College League of California’s Commission on the Future.

The goal is meant to meet national goals to increase college attainment to 60 percent of adults by 2025. To achieve the goal, the 112 community colleges would need to annually triple the number of associate’s degrees and certificates by 2020. Currently, about 128,000 students complete a degree or certificate, and many transfer to four-year universities without completing the associate’s degree.

“The goal is particularly remarkable considering the cuts the system has taken over the last three years,” said John Hendrickson, Chancellor of the West Valley-Mission Community College District in Silicon Valley, and a member of the commission. “Nevertheless, we must boldly state what we need to achieve to meet California’s economic and social needs over the next ten years.”

“For the Central Valley, it is essential that we eliminate the achievement gap for Latino and black students,” said Ben Duran, Superintendent and President of Merced Community College and co-chair of the commission. “Only by increasing college attainment will we attract the jobs that will bring down the unemployment rate and bring economic promise to all of our communities.”

Chart demonstrating the goal of the 2020 Vision report.California’s community colleges serve approximately 2.7 million students each year, but the commission found that too many are arriving at community college underprepared and many leave before completing a degree or certificate.

The report provides 17 recommendations for policy and practice changes that the commission believes will enable the system to meet the goals. The recommendations include increased attention of college leaders to completion and the use of disaggregated student data, changes in the community college funding formula and course scheduling practices.

“What I particularly like about this report is that it recognizes the difficult financial times of the state, but identifies specific strategies that many of our colleges are using for increasing success even during austere times,” said Barbara Dunsheath, a trustee at the North Orange County Community College District and history professor at East Los Angeles College, who co-chaired the commission. “Our goal is to see the best practices spread to all of our colleges and students.”

Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Superintendent and President of Long Beach City College and a member of the commission, added “Community colleges have often followed the path of least resistance while failing to recognize that the student body has changed. Simply put, the way we deliver instruction and student services must change to meet the needs of the twenty-first century student.”

In addition to releasing the report, the commission launched a website,, which will assist community colleges in sharing information about how they are increasing completion rates and tracking the progress toward the goal.

“I am thrilled with the work of the commission, the bold goals it has established, and the vision it has charted for the League in our work serving California’s 112 community colleges,” said Scott Lay, President/CEO of the League. “The release of this report is simply a starting point.”

The League is a not-for-profit association whose mission is to promote student access and success by strengthening colleges through leadership development, advocacy, policy development and district services.

A Report Of The Commission On The Future Of The Community College League Of California

Copies of the report and more information on promising models for strengthening community colleges are available at<>

Sandoval Chagoya is the TechEDge Managing Editor and a Project Manager
for the California Community Colleges Technology Center and the California Virtual Campus.