IBJNews

Ex-higher ed chief Jones unveils college completion group

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Former Indiana higher education commissioner Stan Jones will publicly launch his new organization during a conference call Tuesday from Washington, D.C.

Jones is now president of Complete College America, a not-for-profit backed by five major charitable groups, including the Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation for Education.

Those foundations, along with three others, have pledged $12 million over four years to help College Complete America work with state executives and legislators to improve the percentage of college students who actually earn degrees.

At the event, Jones will report data on college completion rates in the 16 states that have signed up so far. He hopes better reporting of the poor completion rates at colleges around the country will spark governments, not-for-profits and corporations to take action.

“It’s an issue whose time has come,” said Jones, who ended his 14-year run as higher ed commissioner in April 2009. “The country really for the last 40 or 50 years has focused on access [to college]. It’s really in only the last 10 years or so that we’ve said access isn’t enough.”

Indiana is one of the 16 states joining College Complete’s effort. At state-funded, four-year colleges in Indiana, only 55 percent of enrollees graduate within six years. At public two-year community colleges, only 14 percent of students graduate in three years.

The community college number concerns Jones the most, since roughly 45 percent of all college students are enrolled at such schools, he said. He said he expects College Complete America to have “a lot of focus generally on community colleges.”

Jones leads a staff of four from College Complete’s office in Washington, D.C. The organization also claims an Indiana office because Jones wanted two of his Hoosier contacts on his team: Cheryl Orr, who was associate commissioner of higher education under Jones, and Tom Sugar, who was chief of staff for Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana.

The organization’s staff could grow to as many as 12 in the next two years, Jones said.

College Complete America got rolling in spring 2009 when Jones pitched the idea to the Gates and Lumina foundations. They liked it, with Gates shelling out nearly $950,000 last summer and Lumina kicking in $1 million last fall.

Officials of both foundations, including Lumia CEO Jamie Merisotis, will join Jones on the conference call.

The two foundations also brought on other heavy hitters of philanthropy: the Carnegie Corp. of New York and the Ford Foundation, both based in New York, and the Michigan-based W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

College Complete America has already been active. In the fall, Jones and his team conducted a review of college completion in Tennessee for Gov. Phil Bredesen.

The report recommended that each state-funded university set specific degree goals, that their funding be linked to their success on such metrics, that the state operate all its community colleges as a system with clear links to four-year schools, and that the state handle all remedial instruction at the community college level.

Those recommendations were largely passed earlier this year by the Tennessee legislature. Bredesen will also be on the conference call.

Jones wants each state that agrees to participate with College Complete America to agree to similar goals and strategies.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Terminated
    I would have liked to stay in College, but was told at the end of my first year, by the College President, that I was not welcome back next year - as I had a car - as a disabled Vet , and cars were not allowed by freshman - so since I couod not follow rules
    I wasn't wanted in " his " College ......
  • Terminated
    I would have liked to stay in College, but was told at the end of my first year, by the College President, that I was not welcome back next year - as I had a car - as a disabled Vet , and cars were not allowed by freshman - so since I couod not follow rules
    I wasn't wanted in " his " College ......

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I am so impressed that the smoking ban FAILED in Kokomo! I might just move to your Awesome city!

  2. way to much breweries being built in indianapolis. its going to be saturated market, if not already. when is enough, enough??

  3. This house is a reminder of Hamilton County history. Its position near the interstate is significant to remember what Hamilton County was before the SUPERBROKERs, Navients, commercial parks, sprawling vinyl villages, and acres of concrete retail showed up. What's truly Wasteful is not reusing a structure that could still be useful. History isn't confined to parks and books.

  4. To compare Connor Prairie or the Zoo to a random old house is a big ridiculous. If it were any where near the level of significance there wouldn't be a major funding gap. Put a big billboard on I-69 funded by the tourism board for people to come visit this old house, and I doubt there would be any takers, since other than age there is no significance whatsoever. Clearly the tax payers of Fishers don't have a significant interest in this project, so PLEASE DON'T USE OUR VALUABLE MONEY. Government money is finite and needs to be utilized for the most efficient and productive purposes. This is far from that.

  5. I only tried it 2x and didn't think much of it both times. With the new apts plus a couple other of new developments on Guilford, I am surprised it didn't get more business. Plus you have a couple of subdivisions across the street from it. I hope Upland can keep it going. Good beer and food plus a neat environment and outdoor seating.

ADVERTISEMENT